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Graham Swift Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Sweet Shop Owner (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shuttlecock (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Waterland (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Out of This World (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ever After (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Last Orders (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Waterland / Last Orders (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Light of Day (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Tomorrow (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wish You Were Here (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mothering Sunday (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Here We Are (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Publication Order of Collections

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Making An Elephant (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Granta 7: Best of Young British Novelists(1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories(1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Picador Book of 40(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Graham Swift is an English short story author and novelist whose sophisticated psychological works are an exploration of the effects of family history on modern domestic living.

The author spent much of her childhood in London and went to Cambridge’s Queens College and York University’s Dulwich College. It is from these two colleges that he graduated with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Swift was born the youngest of two siblings born to a civil service clerk who at some point fought in the Second World War as a fighter pilot in the Royal Navy.

Graham is thus a baby boomer and loves the typical things of his generation such as traveling and being carefree.

When he was in his twenties, he traveled to Greece and for a while lived there as he taught English as a Second Language.

He published “The Sweet Shop Owner” in 1980 aged 31 and has never looked back since. He has now been writing for more than three dozen years.

However, what people do not know is that this novel was not his first literary attempt as he had destroyed several manuscripts before that.

It was not until he started working with the poet Alan Ross the poet and magazine editor as his patron that he found success.

Like many of his contemporaries, Graham Swift began his literary journey when he was still a child.

What is interesting is that his family did not have any writers who would have been an inspiration. In fact, he did not live in any environment that would have fostered anything artistic such as writing.
His father was then working in a dull London office as a minor civil servant and would have been called a pen pusher in modern parlance.

When he ultimately decided to become a pen pusher of a different kind, his father did not try to dissuade him.

One thing Graham Swift had going for him was that he grew up in the 1950s before TV would become ubiquitous. At that time, the main forms of entertainment were reading and radio.

Similar to many children of the time he was enchanted by books but unlike other kids he started thinking it would be great to write a book rather than just read them.

Of course, at such a young age nobody would take him seriously even though he never let go of his dream of becoming a writer.

Graham Swift is part of the group of writers responsible for revitalizing British fiction during the 1980s and 90s. His biggest honor was when Water his magic realist work made the shortlist for the Booker Prize.

He would stand alongside the likes of Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, Julian Barnes, Rose Tremain, Pat Barker, Martin Amis, and Ian McEwan that Granta Magazine named in its list of most influential Young British novelists.
While it has not been very easy becoming the author that he is, he would eventually become a celebrated writer not only in the United Kingdom but also abroad.

His most celebrated writings remain the murky tangle of beer and eels, local history, and familial rivalry in “Waterland” and “Last Orders,” which he penned soon after the death of his father.
The latter is an elegy for his father who lived with a surprising amount of stoicism and humor, even if he never got the breaks he deserved.

“Mothering Sunday” by Graham Swift is a work set in England that explores the happenings in two country houses.

It is Mothering Sunday on 30th March 1924 and the servants have the day off to visit their family or mothers.

Jane Fairchild is an orphan who works in the Niven household as a domestic servant. She does not have a family to go visit and hence imagines spending Mothering Sunday reading Conrad’s Youth and Cycling.

But then she gets a call from the neighboring house and thinks making love with her lover would be a better option.

Her secret lover is the only one remaining of four siblings that died in the Great War. Paul Sheringham now lives in a house filled with empty rooms that are still maintained like shrines.

Her lover is about to get married to his wealthy convenience in a marriage of convenience. But he wants to have Jane over so that they can have the house to themselves for perhaps the last time.

It is a story of childless mothers, motherless children, loss and grief, and the indulgence and tenderness of a grieving father that lost everything he held dear.

Graham Swift’s novel “Last Orders” is set in a pub in East London that follows the story of Jack Dodds.

It tells the story of the man, dead and alive from the time he is full of vitality until his ashes are taken away by the wind blowing in from the Margate Pier.

Surprisingly, it is the man’s ashes in a box that brings his friends and family together in their favorite pub.

It is also the contents of the heavy box which ultimately result in a lot of reminiscing on the good times as they ride down south to Margate, a small town on the South Coast.

Friends and family share overlapping memories but as they move closer to Margate, where Jack had instructed them to scatter his ashes, old grudges come to the surface and result in unexpected divisions.

But the dead man’s wishes are finally carried out just as he had directed. For a range of reasons, Ray had been closest to Jack, and as such, his thoughts are the predominant voice in the story that lets us on on the outer and inner journeys of the characters.

“Waterland,” by Graham Swift introduces Crick who likes to philosophize about almost anything.

At the opening of the novel, he is discussing the importance of history against a critical pupil who asserts that the future and the here and now are the only things that are important.

Crick is very persuasive as he argues for the fact that the past is critical in shaping the present and is often very illuminating. He does this, even as he tells his personal story and the tragic things he had to suffer to get to where he is.
Over the course of the telling, his views on history begin to shift as he begins to acknowledge that it is not proper to represent it as just consequences and causes. This does not do justice to some very emotional things that happened in the past.
Crick thus writes a cyclical and all-inclusive story of history that may be something of anti-history, even though it is a more comprehensive story for it.

As such, Crick tells a great story as he reconstructs the past and frames it into a narrative since all this has great healing and explanatory power.

However, Crick also acknowledges that the present and the past are interrelated and hence the past is always changing and shifting.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Graham Swift

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