On a midsummer's night, Paula lies awake, Mike, her husband of twenty-five years, asleep beside her, her two teenage children, Nick and Kate, sleeping in nearby rooms. The next day, she knows, will define all their lives. As morning approaches, Paula recalls the years before and after her children were born. Her story is both a celebration of love ...
On a midsummer's night, Paula lies awake, Mike, her husband of twenty-five years, asleep beside her, her two teenage children, Nick and Kate, sleeping in nearby rooms. The next day, she knows, will define all their lives. As morning approaches, Paula recalls the years before and after her children were born. Her story is both a celebration of love possessed and a moving acknowledgement of the fear of loss, the fragilities, illusions and secrets on which even our most intimate sense of who we are can rest.'A triumph ...This is Graham Swift at his impressive best' - "Times Literary Supplement". 'Paula talks the way that people actually talk ...this is part of Swift's overwhelming honesty as a writer: he writes the way that life goes' - Anne Enright, "Guardian". 'The rhythms of long-term partnership become the rhymes of the narrative itself ...a subtle picture emerges of how coupledom is deepened by parenthood' - Robert MacFarlane, "Sunday Times". 'As assured and subtle as ever ...Swift artfully reminds us that no set of relationships is ever free from complication and concealment' - "Spectator". 'Paula's anguish is beautifully captured, as is her tenderness towards her loved ones' - "Mail on Sunday".
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Publishers Weekly, 2007-07-23 This splendid novel by Booker Prize-winner Smith (for Last Orders) has its roots in the 1960s sexual awakening and takes place over the course of a sleepless night in June 1995. Paula Campbell Hook lies awake beside her sleeping husband, Mike, and worries about the shocking revelation that she and Mike will make to their 16-year-old twins tomorrow. Paula recalls her meeting with Mike at university in 1966, when sex was free and easy ("a glut of it"), the immediate consummation of their sexual passion, their marriage and successful careers, and the birth of the twins after almost a decade together. Mainly, Swift explores the ways in which secrets are created to ensure happiness, and the potential for emotional damage when the truth is revealed. Swift has channeled the tenderness in Paula's voice with uncanny exactitude, granting her a mother's sentimental observations about pregnancy and raising children. He drops a few clever red herrings, so the narrative retains the vibrato of suspense until the secret is revealed. But the novel's remaining pages, which convey the exaggerated "doomsday" fears of middle-of-the night wakefulness, seem padded. In essence, this moving exploration of marriage and parenthood is a ringing affirmation of modern life. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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