Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift

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Synopsis

On an autumn day in 2006, on the Isle of Wight, Jack Luxton, former Devon farmer and now the proprietor of a seaside caravan park, receives the news that his soldier brother Tom, not seen for years, has been killed in Iraq. For Jack and his wife Ellie this will have a potentially catastrophic impact. For Jack in particular it means a crucial journey--to receive his brother's remains, but also into his own most secret, troubling memories and into the land of his and Ellie's past. Wish You Were Here is both a gripping account of things that touch and test our human core and a resonant novel about a changing England. Rich with a sense of the intimate and the local, it is also, inescapably, about a wider, afflicted world. Moving towards an almost unbearably tense climax, it allows us to feel the stuff of headlines--the return of a dead soldier from a foreign war--as heart-wrenching personal truth.
 

About Graham Swift

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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: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Wish You Were Here

The Guardian

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They were written in the sort of "heat" that is one reason why writers write.

Mar 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

New York Journal of Books

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At Jebb, Jack had occasionally thought he wasn’t that many notches up from a cow.” And: “How could he, Jack, ever make a speech?”.

Apr 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

New York Journal of Books

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“Wish You Were Here is a novel full of yearning for tradition and history. For what England has lost.”

Apr 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

The Bookbag

And for all the slowness of the story unfolding the final chapters are completely gripping and you really don't know what's going to happen - although you will have a few ideas.

Mar 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

Washington Independent Review of Books

These civilians, Jack now observes, have gathered together into “clusters,” and even though Tom, a corporal, ranked over the other two dead, Jack now worries that “he was the third cluster, a cluster of one.” While he feels a solidarity with the other mourners, he also experiences “a dreadful, sh...

Jun 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

Bookmarks Magazine

By jonTue, 06/21/2011 - 09:38.

Jun 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

DNA

The novel deals with a sustained sense of grief and only a seasoned master craftsman like Swift, whose earlier novel Last Orders won the Booker in 1996, can bring us the “great unearthly howl,” of an ordinary man caught in extraordinary times, and make it feel somehow personal.

Jun 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

The American Book Center Blog

They keep returning, the words Ellie used to persuade Jack to sell the farm, the words Jack failed to say to his father after his brother left, the words he wrote on his first ever postcard to Ellie.

Jun 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

The Anniston Star

No manner of “looking out” or of “taking care” matters — not even the two trips Jack remembers from his youth, trips he tells himself he magnanimously took with his younger brother, caravan trips he remembers as “the best times of his life up to that time.” Tom moves on;

Jun 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Wish You Were Here

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