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Girl in a Swing (Signet) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1981


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Mass Market Paperback, March 1, 1981
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Product Details

  • Series: Signet
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Signet (March 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451154371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451154378
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,486,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author



Richard George Adams (born 9 May, 1920) is an English novelist, author of Watership Down, Shardik, Maia, The Plague Dogs, Traveller, Tales from Watership Down and many other books.

He originally began telling the story of Watership Down to his two daughters during a long car journey, and they insisted he write it down. When Watership Down was finally published, after many rejections, it sold over a million copies in record time in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Watership Down has become a modern classic and won both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 1972. To date it has sold over 8 million copies and been translated into many languages, including Cherokee and Chinese.

Richard's goal is to tell a good story, ideally one so good you can't put it down! Three of his novels have been filmed so far, and he has just completed a story about a new character for very young children. Watch this space!

Richard currently lives in Hampshire, England. He has six grandchildren. He has written about his childhood and youth, including the time he served in the army in World War II, in 'The Day Gone By'.

Customer Reviews

It's the story of a relationship, perhaps a love story but perhaps that is going too far.
DAVID BRYSON
And yet, the spell of love that is cast in the beautiful telling of this story is equally haunting.
Margaret Fiore
Richard Adams will doubtless always be best remembered for his first novel, Watership Down.
Richard Todd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Richard Todd on September 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Richard Adams will doubtless always be best remembered for his first novel, Watership Down. Although it seems at first glance a simple, albeit engrossing, story of some rabbits seeking a new home in the face of impending disaster, it is also a gentle yet forceful reflection of the way human societies work.
None of his other novels has quite caught the public imagination in the manner of that first one, though his proto-historical fantasies, Shardik and Maia are remarkable in their own ways. Indeed, in a recent interview, Adams declared Shardik his best book.
But he is mistaken. His masterpiece, though it is very different indeed from anything else he's published, is The Girl in a Swing of 1980. This novel, not even mentioned in the interview, was billed on the cover of the first paperback edition as "a haunting and erotic story of the supernatural." Those who have passed the book by on account of this description and those who reject it because of their difficulties with its grave moral perplexities, have rejected a work of the greatest depth and power. It contains, among other things, some of the most achingly beautiful prose in modern English literature.
One of the things that sets The Girl in a Swing apart from the Adams's other work is that it involves human characters from our time in a setting we can readily recognize. The action takes place in Copenhagen, in a small English town and, briefly, in London and Florida. The chief protagonists are Alan Deslands, a young, learned and earnest dealer in porcelain and china and Karin (or Käthe in some editions), a beautiful and prodigiously talented German woman he meets on a business trip to Denmark.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By bluewolf@gateway.net on October 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I measure the initial depth of a person by whether or not they are willing to tackle this book; the eerie intensity and sense of recoiling from the inevitable, tragic ending start to echo within one's heart and soul long before that last wave breaks on the beach in that climactic almost-last scene. I agree with one of the previous reviewers in their assessment of the pathos of this work being equal (perhaps surpassing) anything else comparable in this century's works of literary art. A book that haunts one's dreams.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If there is one book I will remember my entire life, this is it. Richard Adams spins love and horror into a delicately-woven web of lyrical prose that is guaranteed to break your heart. The story is gossamer-like in its beauty, yet expresses an intensity of horror I have yet to meet in any other book to date. This is a story that will haunt you years after you've finished the final page. It absolutely will not let you alone, although sometimes you may wish it would.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "labibliophile" on June 25, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you can find a copy of this haunting story of love gone wrong, don't ever let it go! It is by far Adams' best work and one not to be missed. The star of the show is the mysterious, enigmatic Käthe, a woman with too many secrets to hide and far too little to reveal. As the book unfolds, you'll want to get to know her. After it ends, you'll wish you could forget. But be warned! Girl in a Swing is a haunting book in every respect and one you'll remember for the rest of your life!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Winters on September 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read parts of Girl in a Swing when I was in high school. Very specific parts, when my mother wasn't around to snatch the book from my hands. I also saw the, in my opinion, very poor movie version of the novel. Having finally read the novel in full and as an adult, I can say without reservation that it contains some of the most vivid, rich prose that I have ever read. From Alan's reaction upon first seeing Kathe to the horrible climax on the beach, the writing was solid in theme, but subtle enough in action that Adams never actually has to come out and say what the reader figures out by the end of the novel. The sex is graphic without being pornographic and matches the level of writing in the rest of the story. Of course, I had seen the movie, so I knew what Kathe's secret was and that made it harder to be swept up in the relationship between Alan and Kathe. The "ghost" parts of the novel are sparse, which lends itself to making the story more believable. We are left to decide for ourselves if there is really a ghost, or if Kathe is somehow producing everything herself with help from Alan's ESP. And, although I didn't feel any fright when I was reading the climactic scene just prior to Kathe's death, I have to admit that, around midnight that same night, I got a little panicky when I went out by my pool to cover my grill just as a storm was blowing in.

Now, for the doubts. I understand that Adams' subtlety is deliberate and that the reader is left to infer quite a bit on purpose. However, I want to know more concretely what went on! Was Kathe really and incarnation of the goddess? If so, why was Alan the only one to pick up on it? If she was so incredible, why was she so into Alan. Why hadn't she been able to find stability and legitimacy sooner?
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Forget King, Straub, Herbert, Koontz, Andrews and all others illiterate horror writers of today. Here's a powerful, articulated voice that will reach deep down inside you and stir your emotions in a primal, archetypical level without stooping to clichés and formulas. Adam's "children's books" were full of truly frightening moments, but for all of us who love the macabre and admire the writer who is courageous enough to pursue his own personal demons while bringing us along for the ride, this is the book. The pair of "star-crossed lovers" he gives us are made of flesh and bones and their descent into horror is one of the most painful and moving in literature. The pathos evoked in the climax of the novel is, to my knowledge, unsurpassed in post-war american literature, regardless of genre. If you like your horror stories gripping and suspenseful but is more horrified by most of contemporary genre writers styles rather than their plots and skills, this is the book you've been searching for: poignant, elegant and very, very scary.
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