Delicious. That’s what this book is. Delicious.
From the first line, this evocative novel dazzled me with the beauty of the phrasing, the technical proficiency of the delivery and success of the descriptions – we are made to feel heat of the sun, the breeze against our skin, the cool marble underfoot, the afterglow of illicit sex…
Mothering Sunday reveals Booker Prize Winner, Graham Swift to be a master at the peak of his powers. Imagine an artist, a Matisse or a Picasso, deftly sketching a scene or a portrait: a line drawing, effortless for the artist to produce, just something to capture a moment, to capture a mood. It looks like magic to us, and yet to them, a commonplace – the result of genius and long experience.
So I imagine Graham Swift talking to his editor about Mothering Sunday – the editor grasping the manuscript like it was gold – and Swift saying, Oh, you like that do you? I have lots of those laying about.
Of course, no great piece of writing is effortless. Writers, even the best of them, must stretch and strain themselves to be this good. But it feels effortless. It unfurls effortlessly. He seduces us effortlessly.
We need to celebrate books like this. We need to encourage writers like Swift to write more. Great writers get better with age. Our obsession with the new can obscure this simple fact.
Mothering Sunday is erotic, moving, honest, beautiful and beguiling. And it also has the power to surprise. And for a rather short book it explores regions longer books would have difficulty covering.
A hymn to youth, a meditation on ageing, Mothering Sunday is also a study on the value of experience – highly recommended.
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.