It is Mothering Sunday 1924 and a maid, orphan Jane Fairweather, has a day to herself whilst the rest of the household are away visiting their families. She plans to immerse herself in a book from her employer’s library but instead spends the day with her lover: the only surviving son of a well to do family who have lost their other boys in the Great War. In a nod to Classical tradition, the action takes place during one twenty four hour period with flashbacks to the beginning of the affair and the mature Jane looking at the episode as a turning point in her life. It is both sensual and shocking – to tell more would spoil it – and leaves many threads tantalizingly unresolved at the end. It packs a punch far greater than its length (a mere 136 pages) and makes you want to return to the novels of Forster and Conrad and reassess the years between the two World Wars. The reclining nude by Modigliani, which graces the dustjacket, was chosen specifically by the author and compliments the writing within perfectly.
Graham Swift Mothering Sunday
Hardback £12.99 (136pp)
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