Wish You Were Here, by Graham Swift

Wish you were hereIn this novel Swift describes the same thing, over and over and over again, in the most painstaking detail. The same scene, the same moment, the same views, the same conversations, through only a handful of characters. Author Niall Williams also dissects family relationships and tragedies, but does not belabour them as Swift does in this instance. Willams has a light, subtle touch, Swift goes on for page after page, re-hashing the same idea, while the reader initially aches for some movement in the plot, and eventually just skims over the repetitious parts. The atmosphere is strained and bleak, with many scenes of people driving in bad weather, waiting around with a sense of dread and regret, and dealing with death and loneliness. The same phrases: “wish you were here” and “caravans” are repeated with a psychoanalyst’s attention to details and meaning of the context. (Continue reading…)

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