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Wärst du doch hier: Roman by Graham Swift
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Wärst du doch hier: Roman (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Graham Swift, Susanne Höbel (Übersetzer)

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1721069,056 (3.83)12
Member:ollonborren
Title:Wärst du doch hier: Roman
Authors:Graham Swift
Other authors:Susanne Höbel (Übersetzer)
Info:Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (2012), Taschenbuch, 420 Seiten
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Irakkrieg, Soldat, BSE, Selbstmord, Devon

Work details

Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Graham Swift has become one of my favourite authors. Like most of his books, this one is beautifully written with deep portrayals of his characters. It also reveals information slowly, often not sequentially. It can be a bit frustrating, but the work the reader invests in following the thoughts and actions of the characters always pays off.

This is a story about roots: your family, your home, your way of life. All of which change for the main character, Jack Luxton. The story catches him, as the opening sentence says, at the moment when madness takes hold of him. He's recently learned of the death of his soldier brother, Tom, in Iraq, a brother he hasn't seen for over a decade; his last surviving relative. Jack is caught in memories of his parents, his former life as a farmer, the early days of his relationship with his wife. We watch him struggle to deal with his past without destroying his present. A very moving story. ( )
  LynnB | Sep 4, 2013 |
This novel is gorgeously written. Heart-squishingly painful at moments and I even had some tears - which happens to me....never. Okay, maybe twice that I can think of in my entire reading life. If you are in a delicate state of mind, it probably isn't the best time for you to read this one. wait until you are feeling a bit heartier before taking on this read.

Swift makes an interesting choice in this story by withholding the precipitating factor from readers for a good, long time. A really long time. Hints are given along the way, though and I was able to figure it out. But, the story is sad, twisty and surprising.

While the prose was gorgeous, the book managed to feel very methodical, if that makes sense? It reminded me, at moments, of John Banville's [b:The Sea|3656|The Sea|John Banville|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320474389s/3656.jpg|987554].

This book - for me - took a while to get going. Changing story-lines and withheld information made me a tad impatient with Swift but, as anticipated, i was well-rewarded for slowing down and just waiting for it to all unfold. ( )
  DawsonOakes | Apr 10, 2013 |
This book was a fabulous read! It had so many of the topics that light me up: like death, pondering death and suicide, rural life and isolation, and some seriously troubled family dynamics. Plus with a Swift novel, you get great writing, emotion, and with this one, a style that shifted constantly in time without ever losing or confusing me as a reader.

I could tell you about the players and the action, but I think it's best to go into the reading experience of this book—expecting a slightly disturbing, but honestly felt story by a writer who is so very talented.

Every time I have ever read anything by Graham Swift, I wanted to read more. It's sad to report that presently the shelves of most of the East Bay's bookstores are quite lacking when it comes to new copies of any of his books. I'm still searching, but there's a solution nearby, simply pick this one up again and enjoy the whole thing over again. Books, oh, wonderful books, the good ones always give you more and more with each reading. ( )
1 vote jphamilton | Apr 5, 2013 |
Graham Swift is one of the best writers out there, but this novel I found curiously disengaging. I love his commitment to write about the ordinary - in this case farming families driven away from their land by desperation after generations and replaced by 'incomers' looking for a weekend house and the brother who escapes a poisoned legacy only to find death at an Iraqi roadside. Swift is writing about families and home - holiday homes, family homes, family legacies that can be deceptively easily broken; patterns that appear across generations, and that can't perhaps be escaped even by sea. Place as work, place as leisure, place as alienation. I found my main problem was that there wasn't enough differentiation or clarity between the many first person voices in the book. It's a bold narrative choice to have the main first person narrator role played by a man who is clearly outwardly inarticulate, a physical rather than verbal presence. for me it doesn't quite pay off.
  otterley | Mar 4, 2013 |
Wish You Were Here, the latest from Graham Swift, is one of those novels that take place largely inside the heads of its main characters – when there is much of what might be called “action,” it is usually part of the book’s alternating flashbacks recounting Luxton family history. Swift, as usual, tells his story in methodical fashion, but he constructs here a first-rate drama, layer-by-layer, that will reward patient readers with its ultimate impact.

The novel is told from Jack Luxton’s point-of-view. Jack and his wife run a tourist campsite on the Isle of Wight, but the couple grew up on adjoining farms in a remote part of the English countryside, and their current lifestyle is nothing like the one they left behind. The couple has much in common, things that should help keep them together but, as Wish You Were Here begins, Ellie is nowhere to be found and Jack stands gazing out his bedroom window, loaded shotgun on the bed behind him, expectantly awaiting her return. What he plans to use the shotgun for is not at all clear at this point, and learning what placed him in that position will require a bit of patience, but it is well worth the effort involved.

Jack Luxton, it seems, has witnessed the absolute dismantling of his world and, he is not at all certain that the life with which he replaced his old one makes for all that good a swap. Growing up on a small dairy farm is not an easy life for a boy, but Jack, his brother, and his parents managed to cope well for most of his boyhood. Despite the demands of dairy farming (cows have to be milked every morning and they are not happy about waiting for it to happen), Jack can easily picture living on the farm for the rest of his life. The property, after all, has been in his family for generations and, as the eldest son, he feels the obligation to keep it that way. Regrettably, this is not to be.

Jack, Ellie, and their families are relatively simple people; their whole lifestyle tends to make them more insular than those that grow up in more urban areas, but that does not mean they do not feel emotions strongly. The problem is that they do not, at least in this story, seem to be able to express to each other what they are feeling, part of the reason that Jack ends up with a loaded shotgun on his bed.

Much of the satisfaction of reading a Graham Swift novel comes from the way that he describes what seems like an unimportant fact or incident only to reveal later, little piece by little piece, what it really means and why it happened. It is a little like looking at the picture on a jigsaw puzzle’s box and then putting all the pieces in place – only then, is the impact of the whole picture felt. ( )
  SamSattler | May 3, 2012 |
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Graham Swiftprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lecq, Paul van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Are this things done on Albion's shore?"
William Blake -A little boy lost-
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There is no end to madness, Jack thinks, once it takes hold.
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Book description
On an autumn day in 2006, on the Isle of Wight, Jack Luxton former Devon farmer, now proprietor of a seaside caravan park receives the news that his brother Tom, not seen for years, has been killed in Iraq. For Jack and his wife Ellie this will have a potentially catastrophic impact and compel Jack to make a crucial journey: to receive his brother's remains, but also to return to the land of his past and confront his most secret, troubling memories. Building to a fiercely suspenseful climax, Wish You Were Here is a hauntingly compassionate story that allows us to feel the stuff of headlines as heart-wrenching personal truth.
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"A novel set in the Devon countryside in England, in which a man, the son of a dairy farmer, has to cope with the recent death of his brother, a soldier in Iraq; repair his relationship with his wife; and cope with the complicated legacy of his family's past"--… (more)

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