Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

Book - 2012
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On an autumn day in 2006, on the Isle of Wight, Jack Luxton--once a Devon 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. For Jack and his wife, Ellie, this will have unexpected, far-reaching effects. For Jack in particular it means a crucial journey: to receive his brother's remains and to confront his most secret, troubling memories.
A hauntingly intimate, deeply compassionate story about things that touch and test our human core, Wish You Were Here also looks, inevitably, to a wider, afflicted world. Moving toward a fiercely suspenseful climax, it brilliantly transforms the stuff of headlines into heart-wrenching personal truth.

Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2012, c2011.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780307700124
Characteristics: 319 p. ; 23 cm.


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May 19, 2012

A beautifully written story of family and loss told in flashbacks. Graham Swift does an incredible job of conveying the minds and hearts of his characters. One of the best new fiction works I've read this year and one of my four favorites for 2012.

May 01, 2012

Jack Luxton grieves for his younger brother Tom who has been killed in the Iraq war and in the process visits and re-visits other losses in his life.

Talented writer Swift misses a bit on this one. It?s a book about the past written in past tense. It?s a page turner of sorts, but I wasn?t sure if I thought something would move the action into the present or just wanted to be finished!

brianreynolds Oct 23, 2011

Until the closing chapters, it was more a question of staying awake than assigning stars to what seemed to me to be the longest short story I'd ever read. The ending was better, farfetched I think, but interesting at least. The price to pay for it was high.

A English farmer laid low by the mad cow disaster goes mad. That would seem, on the surface, to have some potential. The convoluted prose ascribe to the farmer might be forgiven as proof of his madness, but the same prose is dumped on every other character. So very many, too many, well, in my opinion too many, appositives and asides, not to mention explanatory phrases, interrupt the flow, if "flow" is the right word, to the point, a prickly one, of driving the reader, at least partially, insane, as well. Hopefully the author was paid by the comma. The hypothetical meanderings grated. The repetitions were tedious. The explanations were endless. Could this possibly be the same author I enjoyed so much in Last Orders?

In spite of the tortured sentences, there were flashes of honesty in the writing. I was willing to suspend belief, at least partially, for some of the more outrageous actions and thoughts of the characters. In the end I did appreciate Swift's skill as a storyteller. I only wished the tale had been whittled down to a fraction of it's already modest size.

debwalker Aug 31, 2011

Compelling story of love, a fragmented family, and grief for a brother killed in Iraq.


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