Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift

61%

23 Critic Reviews

. . .far too many passages of muddling internal monologue and free-floating emotional regret.
-Toronto Star

Synopsis

From the prizewinning author of the acclaimed Last Orders, The Light of Day, and Waterland, a powerfully moving new novel set in present-day England, but against the background of a global "war on terror" and about things that touch our human core.
 
On an autumn day in 2006, on the Isle of Wight, Jack Luxton--once a farmer, now the proprietor of a seaside caravan park--receives the news that his brother Tom, not seen for years, has been killed in combat in Iraq. The news will have its far-reaching effects for Jack and his wife, Ellie, and compel Jack to make a crucial journey: to receive his brother's remains, but also to return to the land of his past and of his most secret, troubling memories. A gripping, hauntingly intimate, and compassionate story that moves toward a fiercely suspenseful climax, Wish You Were Here translates the stuff of headlines into heartwrenching personal truth.

This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
 

About Graham Swift

See more books from this Author
Graham Swift is the author of five other novels, including the acclaimed Waterland, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Guardian Fiction Award. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in London.
 
Published April 17, 2012 by Vintage. 338 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Wish You Were Here
All: 23 | Positive: 12 | Negative: 11

Kirkus

Excellent
Feb 15 2012

It’s a sign of Swift’s literary alchemy that he gleans so much emotional and thematic richness from such deceptively common stock.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Stacey D'erasmo on Apr 20 2012

Swift’s empathic, far-reaching, ever so slightly eccentric melancholy is gorgeous just as it is.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Benjamin Markovits on Jun 11 2011

The marital spat that frames the story looks more like a device than a fight.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Carol Birch on Jun 10 2011

. . .it is scattered awkwardly with irritating and heavy-handed hints of impending doom. . .

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
May 21 2012

Swift. . .creates an elegant rawness with language that carries the reader through several layers of Jack's consciousness at once

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Financial Times

Below average
Reviewed by Linda Grant on Jun 03 2011

. . . his plain unlyrical prose, so suited to Jack’s thinking, starts to induce numbness after a while.

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Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Magras on May 04 2012

He is a master at knowing when to withhold information and when to reveal it.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Mark Athitakiss on Apr 28 2012

His strength in this fine novel is showing how all. . .experiences inescapably collide within us.

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Globe and Mail

Below average
Reviewed by Darryl Whetter on Aug 26 2011

Despite. . .gripping early pages, the majority of the novel teleports almost constantly through multiple backstories and never finds forward momentum.

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Toronto Star

Below average
Reviewed by James Grainger on Dec 31 2011

. . .far too many passages of muddling internal monologue and free-floating emotional regret.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Ron Charles on Apr 17 2012

Honestly, I can’t remember when I cared so passionately about how a novel might end.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Boyd Tonin on Jun 17 2011

Like the gruff and saturnine folk within it, this novel takes some getting to know – but more than rewards the effort.

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by Susan Elkin on Jun 12 2011

. . .I was uneasy with Swift's rather clumsy handling of narrative viewpoint, which should be seamless but isn't.

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The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Leo Robson on Jun 20 2011

Graham Swift is an exemplary tour guide of unknown English lives. . .But he’s also the master of the anticlimax.

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The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Jane Shilling on May 31 2011

. . .Jack Luxton’s exposition of the traumas of his past unfolds in the affectless monotone of extreme trauma.More puzzlingly, the interior monologues of the lesser characters. . .share the same strangely muffled quality.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Below average
Reviewed by Sandra Levis on May 13 2012

One perceives his pain. . .but it is difficult to take seriously when the whole construct recalls the facetious lament of the traditional English ballad, "The Roast Beef of England". . .

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Denver Post

Excellent
Reviewed by John Broening on May 06 2012

. . .belongs on that select list of good, depressingly unforgettable novels

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Boston.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Brady on Apr 18 2012

. . . in Jack he has crafted a marvelously rich character whose quiet, outwardly closed-off nature belies profound internal turmoil.

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NJ.com

Below average
Reviewed by Deborah Jerome on May 13 2012

The prospect that the fight with Ellie will change Jack and let loose his demons is a device, not a promise, and it fizzles.

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The National

Below average
Reviewed by Hilary O'Hagan on Jul 29 2011

Swift's handling of the mourning process. . .is poignant but joyless, without a single note of humour or blithe reminiscence to lighten the dejecting tone of the book.

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Mail Online

Good
Reviewed by Clare Colvin on Jun 03 2011

Interweaving the memories of Jack, Ellie and several other characters, he examines the changing face of rural England over the last 30 years and the effect on ordinary lives of outside events. An acutely observed, compelling read. 

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New Zealand Listener

Excellent
Reviewed by Kevin Rabalais on Aug 27 2011

. . .what makes Swift one of the great English novelists. . .is his ability to reveal, in calm but stylish prose, the many complexities of his quiet characters’ lives.

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The Adelaide Review

Excellent
Reviewed by David Sornig

. . .Swift has smoothed these obvious place markers of history and personal tragedy into something like the rubbing of a coin. . .that gains clarity from repeated rubbing. . .

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Reader Rating for Wish You Were Here
70%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 63 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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J Wemekamp 5 Sep 2013

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