Author: Graham Swift
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 fairies
Where to buy: Amazon
Synopsis: Set in the bleak Fen Country of East Anglia, and spanning some 240 years in the lives of its haunted narrator and his ancestors, Waterland is a book that takes in eels and incest, ale-making and madness, the heartless sweep of history and a family romance as tormented as any in Greek tragedy.
About the Author: Graham Colin Swift FRSL (born May 4, 1949) is a British author. He was born in London, England and educated at Dulwich College, London, Queens' College, Cambridge, and later the University of York. He was a friend of Ted Hughes.
Some of his works have been made into films, including Last Orders, which starred Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins and Waterland which starred Jeremy Irons. Last Orders was a joint winner of the 1996 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and a mildly controversial winner of the Booker Prize in 1996, owing to the superficial similarities in plot to William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. Waterland was set in The Fens; it is a novel of landscape, history and family, and is often cited as one of the outstanding post-war British novels and has been a set text on the English Literature syllabus in British schools.
Review: Although meandering at times, this was an enjoyable read. I enjoyed Swift's style, and although not my favorite author, I will probably read more of his books in the future. I like the idea of a history teacher, whose life has taken a turn he could never have anticipated, suddenly departing from typical history lessons to instead relate his own history and the history of his family to his students. A last hurrah, a last attempt to immortalize himself perhaps...An understandable impulse as it is only by looking back that we can move forward with any real confidence. Those who ignore the past are fools who all too often are doomed to repeat it.
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