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The Sweet-Shop Owner Paperback – March 2, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (March 2, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679739807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679739807
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,455,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Book for book, Swift is surely one of England's finest living novelists." -New York Review of Books

"This beautifully balanced novel describes the arrangements, accommodations, pacts and treaties of our ordinary lives." -The Times (London)

"Graham Swift is a writer of extraordinary power." -San Francisco Chronicle


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"Book for book, Swift is surely one of England's finest living novelists." -New York Review of Books

"This beautifully balanced novel describes the arrangements, accommodations, pacts and treaties of our ordinary lives." -The Times (London)

"Graham Swift is a writer of extraordinary power." -San Francisco Chronicle


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
Perhaps more than any other English-speaking author, Graham Swift is able to capture the poignancy, the thwarted emotions, and the poetry which can lie behind seemingly mundane lives. Although not as well-known as "Waterland" or "Last Orders" (which cover much the same emotional landscape), "The Sweet-shop Owner" seems to be their equal in quality. The novel covers one day in the life of an aging, lower-middle-class man, moving back and forth from the minutia of his business routine to the painful memories of his failures as a husband and a father. Swift's prose really is a joy to read -- at its best he can create a "Madame Bovary" sort of mood -- and he can create vividly believable supporting characters, like the drab shop assistant who has centered all of her hopes on marriage with her boss or the self-indulgent teenager who nevertheless finds herself awkwardly responding to the title character's decency.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. A. Hogan on June 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
An exceptional first novel from an important novelist, thus 5 stars. Here, Graham Swift looks at boundaries: The narrow geographical boundaries of the small London suburb in which the story is set ("We never moved out of these narrow bounds. Born here, schooled here, worked here,") and the narrow emotional boundaries of his characters' relationships (The paragraph continues, "And even when I met her I stood here on the common and thought: enough, now everything is in its place, and I in mine.") The theme of narrow boundaries is deftly rendered in the relationship of the sweet-shop owner, Willie Chapman, and his wife Irene who, from the start, sets the limits of their relationship, and in the father/daughter and the mother/daughter relationships, all locked within narrow confines.
Swift is quoted as saying: "I think if you know that you have a talent, then . . . you should try not to dissipate it. You should try to hold onto it and keep it, concentrate it - not to do as the whole world tends to do these days, and diversify. Diversification doesn't work with art. Keep the old firm in business, don't go into other fields of trade." Although some believe that his later work reveals a talent as a dramatist, may his "old firm" of novel writing thrive well into the future.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ellis on May 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was browsing the FAQ on Elizabeth George's website where it said that Graham Swift was one of her favorite authors. Elizabeth George is my favorite author (I highly recomend reading her book For The Sake Of Elena or Deception On His Mind) so I decided to give him a try. I am very glad that I did. Graham Swift came close to replacing her as my favorite author. This book is one of the best that I have ever read, and I have since devoured everything that he has published. This book had a deep effect on me and if you read it, I think you will find it a very rewarding experience.
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Format: Paperback
Not what I expected from this author. But, an okay book for falling asleep.
Not my choice while some of you might really like it, I did not.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
From the first sentence, I draw into this poignant, spellbinding story. Although I think Willy, his wife and his daughter hurt each other and all of them become victim, I could identify with any of them.
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