Nominated by:

State Library of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Universitätsbibliothek Bern, Switzerland

Liverpool City Libraries, UK

Redbridge Libraries, London, UK

Publisher of nominated edition:

Scribner, UK

Alfred A. Knopf, USA

Mothering Sunday

Graham Swift      

2018 Longlist

It is March 30th 1924. It is Mothering Sunday.

How will Jane Fairchild, orphan and housemaid, occupy her time when she has no mother to visit? How, shaped by the events of this never to be forgotten day, will her future unfold?

Beginning with an intimate assignation and opening to embrace decades, Mothering Sunday has at its heart both the story of a life and the life that stories can magically contain. Constantly surprising, joyously sensual and deeply moving, it is Graham Swift at his thrilling best..

About the author

Graham Swift was born in 1949 and is the author of nine novels, a collection of short stories and Making an Elephant, a book of essays, portraits, poetry and reflections on his life in writing. With Waterland he won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and with Last Orders the Booker Prize. Both novels have since been made into films. Graham Swift’s work has appeared in over thirty languages.

(from publisher)

Librarians’ comments

Ahh, Swift, you’ve done it again. A short tale it may be, but it certainly doesn’t lack for being a novel, or if you like, a very long short story. It’s so beautifully sad it makes you want to cry. The story is set in 1924, and revolves around a maid in one of the grand homes of Berkshire, and her clandestine love affair with one of the remaining sons of the aristocracy. The characters are not remote in the slightest, there is something in all of them that we are drawn to, and furthermore we can only be intrigued by their motivations as the tale unfolds.

The favourite book of the year with the library reading groups.

Compact yet compelling, this reserved but meditative work explores fissures in society and the human heart alike. Set in the years after the First World War, its stoicism is deeply moving.

The author describes in the form of a novella and in slow motion style, the crumbling of society and power relations in the Edwardian age. At the end of a momentous day, the female hero, a maid servant, finds stability which leads to a positive turn in the rest of her long life. Perfectly structured text, sophisticated language, great literature.

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