Here We Are, by Graham Swift (Scribner 2020)

Neil's picture

Through his long career - his first book was published in 1980 - Swift has progressed from being somewhat experimental, to being a subtle chronicler of human emotion. He reminds me slightly of Anita Brookner these days. This latest book is no exception. It's set in relatively unpromising territory - the 1950s theatrical entertainment scene in Brighton, where a love triangle plays out between a brilliant young magician, his girlfriend assistant, and the compere who holds their act together. The precise, descriptive prose relates a story full of emotion, but with gentle humour and convincing characterisation. A rich, if somewhat conventional novel, typical of an author who knows what he's doing and is at the peak of his powers.