FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF LAST ORDERS AND MOTHERING SUNDAY, reissued for the first time in Scribner
For forty years, Willy Chapman has struck a strange but steadfast bargain between the two poles of his life: his beautiful but emotionally damaged wife and the sweet shop he runs on a south London high street. Devoted to each, he has maintained a delicate, precarious balance. Now, on a hot summer’s day, he attempts to settle his final accounts and reach an understanding with a third, disruptive element in his reckoning: his angry, unforgiving daughter.
Spanning five decades and intricately exploring a doomed family triangle, Graham Swift’s first novel already shows the historical scope combined with intense intimacy that will characterise his work.
Graham Swift was born in 1949 and is the author of eleven novels,two collections of short stories, including the highly acclaimed England and Other Stories, and of Making an Elephant, a book of essays, portraits, poetry and reflections on his life in writing. His most recent novel, Mothering Sunday, became an international bestseller and won The Hawthornden Prize for best work of imaginative literature. With Waterland he won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and with Last Orders the Booker Prize. Both novels were made into films. His work has appeared in over thirty languages.
'The sweet shop owner in Graham Swift’s excellent first novel is …a man with a laugh inside him, who was never allowed to give or take love, but in whom the laugh did not die…Moving evocatively but purposefully through four decades, this beautifully balanced novel describes the arrangements, accommodations, pacts and treaties of our ordinary lives: what makes them uneventfully profound.'
– The Times
'A remarkable novel…There is a touch of Joyce in Graham Swift’s revelation of the hidden poetry of small men’s lives.'
– New York Times
'A marvellous first novel.'
– New Statesman
'The themes are already the themes of a mature novelist – the choices (and lack of choice) that determine the shape of men’s working lives, the way people struggle to make sense of their personal stories, the criss-crossing of private and public history…a quiet but beautifully shaped book.'
– Maggie Gee, Literary Review
'In his moving first novel, THE SWEET SHOP OWNER, Graham Swift illuminates the history of one man through flashbacks on the last day of that man’s life. Through the succinctly evoked provincial decades one of the engrossing features is the difficulty of love and communication between generations.'
– Alan Hollinghurst, London Review of Books
'An impressive first novel…brilliantly chronicled.'
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