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OUT OF THIS WORLD. Hardcover – 1988


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Poseidon Press New York; First Edition edition (1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671658271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671658274
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,798,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
This 1988 novel by Graham Swift is another familial saga (albeit relatively brief, at around 200 pages), with serious moral overtones, told with the author's usual flair for perceptive and evocative prose. In this case, Swift's subjects are four generations of the Beech family, dating back to the First World War with great grandfather and maimed Victoria Cross-wearing war hero Robert, his son and heir to his munitions company, Harry, whose estranged daughter Sophie is now residing in New York along with her twin sons.

Given the relative brevity of Out Of This World, Swift manages to pack in an astonishing level of narrative detail (maybe slightly too much) and, in the main, paints a lucid picture of this tale of personal betrayal, loss, separation, longing, promiscuity and questionable morals. Set in 1982 at the time of the Falklands War, Swift has structured his novel as a series of chapters with different narrators (a style he repeated in his later novel, Last Orders), an approach which allows his characters to reveal their inner feelings, doubts and secrets, in the process revealing the chequered history of the Beech family and hinting at the possibility of a long overdue reconciliatory reunion between father and daughter, Harry and Sophie. In addition to the personal side of the novel, Swift also deftly interweaves questions around the morality of weapons manufacture and distribution, as well as raising Harry's own ambivalent feelings to his profession as a war-time photographer.

Whilst, for me, Out Of The World does not rank quite with Swift's best work, such as Waterland and Last Orders, it is another skilfully written novel that is well worth reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A powerful, brutal history of a 20th Century family 15 May 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Graham Swift is a proven master of the brooding British
drama and he continues here with a history of a family
spanning several decades, wars and generations. Swift plumbs
the depths of parental guilt, photographers' responsibility
and terrorism. You emerge from this book battered but feeling
a bit more clear about life in general.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Tragedy, and Reconciliation Spanning Three Generations. 20 Feb. 2000
By "james_m_b" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When Harry Beech refers to his fiancee as "She's out of this world." he reveals a happy conclusion to a life wrought with the kind of unspoken trauma not often made public. Although growing up in and inheriting monetary affluence, he has strained relationships with both his father, a physically disabled WWI veteran, and his daughter, child of his deceased wife. Emerging from a labyrinth of personal crisis, in the backdrop of the 20th century, Harry Beech does manage to mend his life and find some degree of lasting happiness. This work is deeply moving in a way that causes one to reexamine the "constants" which ordinarily typify modern life.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Beautiful Surprise 25 April 2012
By l ohara - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have an affection for the movie "The Last Orders" but never could find the book. This was from the same author and it was beautiful, just beautiful. The line that has stuck with me the most is when the photographer at the center of it all says that he doesn't take pictures of his aunt because you only take photos of things "you know you're going to lose." This is a profound idea when it comes to ideas of family and relationships. You will move past moments: Christmases, vacations, weddings. But those you truly love you will never lose.
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