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Cover of Mothering Sunday
Rated 3.77
5,289 ratings

Mothering Sunday

By: Graham Swift

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Imprint: Vintage

Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9781101971727

Other Formats:

Electronic | Hardcover

On Sale: | Pages: 192

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From the Booker Award winner: a luminous, intensely moving story that begins with an assignation in 1924 between a servant girl, Jane, and Paul, the young man of the neighboring house, then opens to reveal the whole life of a remarkable woman. Jane and Paul have been secret lovers for years. Now, on an unseasonably warm March dayMothering Sundaythey make love, as Jane imagines, for the last time, since Paul is about to be married. In ways she cannot imagine, it is day that will alter her life for ever. As the narrative moves back and forth from 1924 to the end of the century, what we know and understand about Janeabout the way she loves, thinks, feels, sees, remembersexpands with every beautifully vivid moment. Her story is one of profound self-discovery and through her, Graham Swift has created an emotionally soaring and deeply affecting work of fiction.
“Mothering Sunday” is, in fact, a kind of feminist “Cinderella”... It is also a carefully chiseled story that takes place during a single day — March 30, 1924 — and that unfolds, via brief flashes forward, to disclose how the events of that one Sunday will shape the rest of Jane's life.... As in so many of Mr. Swift's stories, an unexpected event shatters Jane's Mothering Sunday, sending shock waves through all the character's lives. It's an event that subverts the Cinderella template and underscores the losses that echo throughout Mr. Swift's fiction.
—New York Times
...a “romance” that clocks in at under 200 pocket-size pages. Swift, however, accomplishes a great deal in such a tight narrative.... “Mothering Sunday” could be also subtitled “an origin story,” as it eloquently accounts for the beginning of a vocation, and the re-beginning of an individual. It can be read in a sitting or two, and could make your day.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
Historical novels are most compelling when they say something about the present as well as the past. Swift shows that the elegance and lyricism of high modernist writing still has value for contemporary fiction, but the book is inconclusive and vague. I wasn't sure why it was a novella, since Swift's style and themes are so weighty, but the lush, sorrowful prose gives considerable pleasure.
—New York Times
Graham Swift's “Mothering Sunday” seems at first like a grab for some “Downton Abbey” love, but it's really a demonstration of what this Booker winner can do in the tight space of a single day.... Next to Swift's previous novels, such as “Last Orders” (1996) or his emotionally devastating “Wish You Were Here” (2011), “Mothering Sunday” feels elliptical, even minor. But it's an elegant reflection on the impulse to tell stories (a subject he addressed more personally in his nonfiction work “Making an Elephant”).
—Washington Post
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