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Bettie's Books

A Stuga On the Cusp of the Orust Riviera, tucked away next to a hobbit hole in the woods.

Mothering Sunday: A Romance by Graham Swift

Mothering Sunday: A Romance - Graham Swift
bookshelves: spring-2016, author-love, radio-4, long-weekend, published-2016, filthy-lucre, lit-richer, class-war, britain-n-ireland, books-about-books-and-book-shops, lifestyles-deathstyles, women
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from March 28 to April 16, 2016




Description: Booker prize-winner Graham Swift's new novel is a luminous and sensual meditation on truth, loss and the forging of a writer. Twenty-two year old Jane Fairchild, orphaned at birth, has worked as a maid at one English country estate since she was sixteen. And for almost all of those years she has been the secret lover to Paul Sheringham, the scion of the estate next door. On an unseasonably warm March afternoon, Jane and Paul will make love for the last time--though not, as Jane believes, because Paul is about to be married--and the events of the day will alter Jane's life forever. As the narrative moves back and forth from 1924 to the end of the century, what we know and understand about Jane--about the way she loves, thinks, feels, sees, remembers--deepens with every beautifully wrought 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.

1/10: Berkshire, 1924. On the one day of the year when servants are given leave to visit their families, orphaned maid Jane languishes in the bed of her lover.

2/10: Maid Jane Fairchild answers a telephone call at Beechwood which will change not only the course of her Mothering Sunday but, in time, also her life.

3/10: On the traditional servants' holiday maid Jane has been summoned by her lover Paul, the only surviving son of neighbouring Upleigh House.

4/10: After spending the morning in bed together, Jane accepts that her lover Paul Sheringham must leave her to meet his wealthy fiancée.

5/10: As Jane languishes in Paul Sheringham's bed, her lover dresses with meticulous care in preparation for meeting his fiancée.

6/10: After their secret assignation on Mothering Sunday, Jane Fairchild is given the freedom of her lover Paul's empty mansion when he leaves to meet his fiancée for lunch.

7/10: As author Jane Fairchild is interviewed later in life, she finds her thoughts returning to the afternoon in 1924 when everything changed.

8/10: Did it matter if your birth date is not exactly the right date when born to the lower classes.

9/10: Mr Niven awaits Jane.

10/10: Jane reflects on how her last, secret, assignation with Paul Sheringham would lead indirectly to her future literary success.

HUZZAH for this, thanks Auntie. As those who are close to me already know, I am in awe of Graham Swift's writing, even those 3* results (see below) are a notch higher than every other 3* novels. Mr Swift seems to speak directly into my ear. Yet this, dear friends, is delicious, full of female anguish and male hypocrisy - yet the maid makes good with inner drive and a plethora of reading ♥.

Now I am torn as to whom should be the winner of the Booker Prize 2016: Swift or Mitchell. Two completely different styles and subject matter, yet I adore both. My ratings are 5* Swift, 4* Mitchell: Slade House 4*, Mothering Sunday 5*.

3* The Sweet Shop Owner (1980)
5* Waterland (1983)
5* Ever After (1992)
4* Last Orders (1996)
3* The Light of Day (2003)
TR Wish You Were Here (2011)
5* Mothering Sunday (2016)