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Wish you were here
Graham Swift
Adult Fiction SWIFT

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Swift's stunning new novel (after Light of Day) begins with deceptive slowness, detailing the lives of Jack and Ellie, the English husband-and-wife proprietors of a trailer park on the Isle of Wight. Jack and his brother Tom grew up on a dairy farm, but after mad cow disease decimates the livestock, their father commits suicide and the brothers grow apart-Tom enlists and goes off to fight in Iraq, while Jack and Ellie built a happy, if quiet, existence. But when a letter from the Ministry of Defence arrives-addressed to the old farm and rerouted "by someone with a long memory" to the Isle of Wight-Jack learns that the burden of repatriating his brother's remains has fallen on his shoulders, a responsibility that will cause Jack to confront the complexities of "life and all its knowledge," and the sheltering peace of death. Swift (Last Orders) creates an elegant rawness with language that carries the reader through several layers of Jack's consciousness at once-his lonely past, his uncertain future, and the ways in which his father and his brother both refuse to leave him alone, despite how long they've been gone. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

This perfectly titled novel is about longing for the people in our lives who have died. Taking place over just a few days, it focuses on Jack Luxton's journey to retrieve the remains of his brother Tom, a soldier who died in Iraq. The brothers grew up on a farm in the British countryside, and hovering over the story is the specter of mad cow disease on one end and terror (both political and personal) on the other. Madness and terror certainly infect Jack, who has suffered the loss of nearly everyone he loves. The question that propels the action is whether he will ultimately destroy himself as well. Like Swift's Waterland, this book explores the ways the past haunts us, and, like his Booker Prize-winning Last Orders, it uses a death as a provocation for the examination of self and country. VERDICT Swift has written a slow-moving but powerful novel about the struggle to advance beyond grief and despair and to come to grips with the inevitability of change. Recommended for fans of Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje, and Kazuo Ishiguro, authors with a similar method of slowly developing an intense interior narrative. [See Prepub Alert, 9/30/11.]-Evelyn Beck, Piedmont Technical Coll., Greenwood, SC (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Jack
Male
Struggles with the changes in his family; family farm is struggling; loses his mother and brother.

Ellie
Female
Lives in the adjacent farm from Jack's; writes letters to Jack.



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