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Ever After

by Graham Swift

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439457,185 (3.47)8
Dazzling in its structure and shattering in its emotional force, Graham Swift'sEver Afterspans two centuries and settings from the adulterous bedrooms of postwar Paris to the contemporary entanglements in the groves of academe. It is the story of Bill Unwin, a man haunted by the death of his beautify wife and a survivor himself of a recent brush with mortality. And although it touches on Darwin and dinosaurs, bees and bridge builders, the true subject ofEver Afteris nothing less than the eternal question, "Why should things matter?" "Ever Afteris explicitly concerned with historical investigation, love, death, family affairs.... It moves quickly, and it vibrates with feeling and thought."--Wall Street Journal… (more)
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A novel that presses the reader to understand the complexities our actions and our history have on others, and how they resonate through generations. Our main character, Bill Unwin, after a failed attempt to take his own life, his wife's death and that of his step-father, sets down in writing what he has become as a result of these events; and just as importantly for him, an attempt to discover his former self. He has imagined himself as Hamlet - outwardly a happy man, still lingering in the "fads of adolescence"; but when "the lights go out", the dark side of the prince reveals itself in him.
I love Graham Swift. He's got a grip on so many things: history, mortality, faith and the lack of it, the joy of love and its inevitable removal, and I think, the importance of creating a personal record to connect ourselves, and those who follow, with why it is that things matter.
Of Graham Swift's novels that I have read, that sense of a quest for a deeper understanding of human motivation in his characters is a special quality that marks him as a lovable writer, worthy of respect and praise.
  ivanfranko | Mar 24, 2021 |
I found many parts of this novel extremely moving—especially as I’m always drawn to stories of dying spouses—but in the end I found the combination of the contemporary story with the one from the Victorian era lacking. Swift can write like a dream, many times his writing feeling so heartfelt and personal that it feels as if you reading a personal letter from the man. The parts from the 1800s became sections that I would find myself reading faster and faster as I wanted to get back to his writing of the current storyline, and Ruth.
My copy of the book is heavily porcupined with the Post-its that I use to mark memorable lines and passages, so there was much that impressed me here, it was just a disconnect with his two story theme. ( )
  jphamilton | Mar 6, 2020 |
A gentle novel that rambles along a journey that doesn't really go anywhere, but is enjoyable enough as Swift writes very well. ( )
  CarolKub | May 12, 2010 |
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et mentem mortalia tangunt. Aeneid I
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For my mother and father
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These are, I should warn you, the words of a dead man.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Dazzling in its structure and shattering in its emotional force, Graham Swift'sEver Afterspans two centuries and settings from the adulterous bedrooms of postwar Paris to the contemporary entanglements in the groves of academe. It is the story of Bill Unwin, a man haunted by the death of his beautify wife and a survivor himself of a recent brush with mortality. And although it touches on Darwin and dinosaurs, bees and bridge builders, the true subject ofEver Afteris nothing less than the eternal question, "Why should things matter?" "Ever Afteris explicitly concerned with historical investigation, love, death, family affairs.... It moves quickly, and it vibrates with feeling and thought."--Wall Street Journal

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