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Understanding Graham Swift

PDF Graham Swift has published to widespread acclaim since his literary debut in 1980. He has won an impressive array of literary prizes, including the 1996 Booker Prize, and three of his novels have been produced as films. This title introduces readers to the entirety of his career, including his lesser-known short stories. Through close readings, David Malcolm explains the central importance Swift places on the role of history in human life - and the difficulties of giving an adequate account of that history. In separate chapters Malcolm considers Swift's seven novels, from "The Sweet Shop Owner", published in 1980, through "The Light of Day", published in 2003. Malcolm explores Swift's presentation of family conflict and emotional and psychological disturbance, his use of complex narrative technique and genre mixture, and his interest in metafictional issues. Malcolm underscores the novelist's debt to earlier writers, especially George Eliot, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner, and his recurrent concern with the lives of socially humble characters. Also discussed is the novelist's use of major 20th-century historical events to shape and deform the lives of his characters; his focus on the distortions and evasions of personal, local and national histories; and his fascination with the complexities, sufferings and joys of individual lives.

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