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Wish You Were Here MP3 CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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''Wish You Were Here is a work of wide, ambitious span . . . Recounted in pages of affecting, powerfully sober prose . . . What gives [the novel] a compelling hold is Swift's real strength, the authenticity that hallmarks his portrayals of people in crisis.'' --Sunday Times (London)
''The true strength of this book . . . is Swift's ability to capture the exquisite poignancy of certain moments: how the memory of a dog's old blanket on a bed, or the wrinkles on his mother's wrist as she pours him a cup of tea, open a world of loss for a block of a man who's never cried, not even in front of his wife.'' --The Guardian (London)
''An acutely observed, compelling read.'' --Daily Mail(London)
''It begins to read like a thriller . . . Here Swift parcels out information like an Agatha Christie detective . . . The pace quickens and quickens. Almost against your will you find yourself racing through Swift's brief chapters . . . Swift's best since Waterland.'' --Express (London)
''Swift . . . is as brilliant as ever on the potency of family myth . . . This novel is often astonishingly moving.'' --Sunday Express (London)
''Like its predecessors, most notably Waterland and Last Orders, Wish You Were Here is a book of quiet emotional integrity . . .The novel expertly explores the poignant contrast between irrepressible human hope and the constraints within which we live our finite lives.'' --Times (London)
''Novelists, being on the whole brainy people, like to write about brainy people, or make their characters better with words than they would be in real life . . . But as Swift's novels so brilliantly prove, just because someone doesn't have a way with words doesn't mean they can't experience deep emotion, or be powerfully moved by the forces of history and time . . . I doubt there is a better novelist than Swift for this kind of story.'' --Evening Standard (London)
''Like Ian McEwan's Saturday, or Sebastian Faulks's A Week in December, this novel draws on events from the news pages . . . But this emotionally complex novel is not mere reportage . . . It is [Swift's] most intimately revelatory novel yet . . . This is a profound and powerful portrait of a nation and a man in crisis that, for all its gentle intensity, also manages to be an unputdownable read.'' --Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh)
''I cannot tell you exactly how long after I finished this book that I sat, holding it, in stunned silence for--but it was light when I finished it and dark when I put it down. Some books can do that to you. This is one of them . . . Totally captivating . . . There's such a beautiful tone to the writing and it's so moving that I cannot imagine it failing to move anyone . . . Swift has already won one Man Booker prize--this deserves another nomination.'' --The Bookbag
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Jack thought he had gotten beyond his traumatic past: the death of his mother, then the years of crushing work on the family dairy farm in Devon, then their herd having to be put down because of the threat of mad cow disease, the death of the family dog, his brother's running away at age 18 to join the army (but really to get away from the farm and his father); his father's suicide by the side of the old oak tree. Ellie's father dies soon after Jack's. Now they can marry, no longer in thrall to demanding fathers. Ellie persuades Jack to sell the farm -she has inherited a caravan (house trailer) park on the Isle of Wight-- and use the money to leave Devon and move to the coast. That's 1998.
For the next eight years, Ellie and Jack run a successful caravan park. Jack's happy and so is Ellie. Jack seems a new man. They even vacation a few weeks every year in far off St. Lucia. Then in 2006 comes a dreadful bit of news. A letter -delivered to the wrong address and now long overdue- finally reaches Jack. He calls to confirm he's received it. "I'm Jack Luxton," he says on the phone and soon he's receiving a visit from sympathetic Major Richards, whose job it is to break the news to the families of dead soldiers. Tom, his baby brother Tom who he'd always hoped would return to him some day, is dead, blown up by an IED in Basra, Iraq.
Inside Jack is the memory of a chain of blows taken but not dealt with. Tom's death cracks open the doors to despair.Read more ›
In a series of vignettes and flashbacks, the intimate lives of the characters is spread before you. This is not a quick read, nor is it an exciting one but it will stay with you. Ordinary things like a shotgun, a Cherokee Jeep, a suit of clothes, a war medal, an old oak tree, become icons for the reader to grasp.
When the novel opens,it is a stormy, rainy November day on the Isle of Wight where Jack Luxton and his wife Ellie run a trailer park. Ellie, her emotions as stormy as the weather, has screamed away in their Jeep, after she and Jack, a result of years of bottled up emotions, have quarreled violently. In their house -Lookout House- Jack awaits the return of his wife, a loaded shotgun beside him on the bed. The crucible of the plot was the death of Jack's much younger brother, Tom, in Iraq. That event triggers a maelstrom of emotions which up until then have been hidden and suppressed in the minds of both Jack and Ellie. They are both emotional time bombs.
The reader is privy to the thoughts of all the characters, so we know what Major Richards is thinking when he calls on the Luxtons to convey the condolences of the Army about Tom's death. We know what Jack is thinking, too.Read more ›
Swift's extraordinary gift is to portray the inner lives of all the characters in this book, not just Jack and his family, but anyone who remotely comes in contact with the story, giving a full satisfying quality.it I have been reading him for over 20 years now, and know when I sit down with one of his boos, Swift will deliver. He is a patient writer and expects and extracts the same level of attention from his readers. This is definitely not for anyone looking for a quick read, but for someone looking for a book with more meat on its bones. The story is not linear -- but that is not to say it is confusing. The patient reader will be rewarded by paying strict attention to the detail, not be thrown by what appears to be a meandering timeline. By the end, it all comes together in a satisfying whole.
Swift has come to specialise in laconic characters in whom deep currents run. He pulls off this sort of thing astoundingly well in a recent novel, The Light of Day, which I would heartily urge to anyone over this book. This particular book's laconic protagonist is Jack Luxton, who comes of age in Devon farmland during the twin catastrophes of Mad Cow Disease and Foot-and-Mouth disease. He marries Ellie, his childhood sweetheart, after both their fathers die - Jack's father shoots himself, leaving a hole in a centuries old oak - to which I'll return. With the money Jack accrues through the selling of the land the Luxtons have held for time immemorial and Ellie's inheritance, they set themselves up as owners of a caravan park - Americans read "trailer" or "RV" park - on the Isle of Wight. Thus, the setting.
In a recent interview in The Guardian, Swift has said that an image came into his head of a man sitting on his bed next to a loaded shotgun and that this book was the result of writing a story explaining how such a situation could come about.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having grown up in a family with a long military history, and having experienced having a brother in the military whose life I always worried about while he was stationed overseas,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by EpicFehlReader
Jack Luxton , like generations of Luxton's before him, grew up on Jebbs farm in isolated North Devon. Following the death of his mother and the BSE outbreak, the farm struggles. Read morePublished 10 months ago by An admirer of Saul
There's a lot to discuss in relation to war, nation, and hero discourse. At the asme time, there is a subtle suspense that could be a bit slow, but overall adds to the quiet grace... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Cheval13
The story is reminiscent of one from the 1800s as it very slowly unveils the heartbreak, misunderstandings, and deep love of characters who communicate poorly and struggle to find... Read morePublished on April 28, 2014 by Brooke
I really enjoy Graham Swift. My book group thought it was too long. It really seems like a man's book on the style of "All the Pretty Horses" with very little dialog. Read morePublished on July 11, 2013 by emma2u
I'm a newbie to Swift and have gotten the impression from other reviews this is not his best work. Hmm. Read morePublished on February 4, 2013 by Emily J. Morris
Graham Swift is one of the best writers of our day. This book is just another example. If excellent writing and character studies is what you like, you might consider reading all... Read morePublished on January 27, 2013 by rlon
Last Orders was one of my favorite films of the late 90's, and the book didn't disappoint. This title, which is set in Dorset and the Isle Of Wight does disappoint, but probably... Read morePublished on January 17, 2013 by Nagronsky