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Soon to be a major film starring Olivia Coleman, Colin Firth, Odessa Young, Josh O'Connor (The Crown) and Alice Birch (Normal People)
'Exquisite . . . Mothering Sunday shows love, lust and ordinary decency straining against the bars of an unjust English caste system' Kazuo Ishiguro
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.
Praise for Mothering Sunday:
‘Mothering Sunday is a powerful, philosophical and exquisitely observed novel about the lives we lead, and the parallel lives – the parallel stories – we can never know … It may just be Swift’s best novel yet’ The Observer
'Dazzling . . . a vanished world is resurrected with superb immediacy . . . wonderfully accomplished' Sunday Times
'Stunning . . . It is about the most perfect novel you could wish to read' The Guardian
'From start to finish Swift's is a novel of stylish brilliance and quiet narrative verve . . . Swift is a writer at the very top of his game' Evening Standard
From the Booker-winning author of Last Orders and Waterland comes a long-awaited new novel. ‘Mothering Sunday is bathed in light; and even when tragedy strikes, it blazes irresistibly… Swift’s small fiction feels like a masterpiece’ The Guardian
‘Mastery and resonance . . . It’s one of the novel’s great strengths to be able to shift with such agility between focus scene and lifetime recollection . . . the languid, blissful minutes of March 30, 1924 seem to contain all the succeeding decades’ Times Literary Supplement
'A dazzling read: sexy, stylish, subversive' Herald Scotland
'A jewel of a book, a subtle, erotically charged novella suspended between past and future' Hermione Lee
'A work of gold from the subtle pen of the great Graham Swift' Le Monde
'With this novel he captures what it means to be alive' Der Spiegel
‘An exquisite novella of love and loss . . . a short yet powerful and intricately layered work . . . every sentence counting and not a word out of place’ The Australian
Set in 1924, in an England still reeling from the loss of young men to the Great War, this elegiac tale offers a haunting portrait of lives in a world in transition. Its events unfold from the viewpoint of Jane Fairchild, a 22-year-old maid at the Berkshire estate Beechwood. On the titular day a Sunday before Easter that the aristocracy traditionally give their help off to visit their families Jane bikes to neighboring Upleigh for a final fling with Paul Sheringham, her wealthy lover for the past five years, who is soon to marry into another blue blood family. No one can anticipate that the day will end abruptly with a devastating tragedy and, for Jane, an epiphany that marks the start of a future as rich and rewarding as it is unforeseen. The story lingers on the immediate aftermath of Jane and Paul's tryst and Swift (England and Other Stories) invests its every detail the order in which Paul hastily dons formal attire to lunch with his fianc and their families, the casualness with which Jane explores his estate home in the nude with gravity and symbolic weight. His depiction of a fragile caste clinging to traditions that define their sense of noblesse oblige while struggling to bear the era's crushing burden of "accumulated loss and grief" is poignant and moving as is his intimation of a brilliant personal destiny that rises from the ashes of a tragically bygone social order.