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Tomorrow [Unabridged] [Hardcover]

Graham Swift
2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 April 2007

On a midsummer's night Paula lies awake, Mike, her husband of twenty-five years asleep beside her, her two teenage children, Nick and Kate, sleeping in nearby rooms. The next day, she knows, will redefine all their lives.

Recalling the years before and after her children were born, she begins a story which is both a glowing celebration of love possessed and a moving acknowledgement of the fear of loss, of the fragilities, illusions and secrets on which even our most intimate sense of who we are can rest.

It is 1995. A revelation lies in store. Her children's future lies before them. The house holds a family's history and fate. As a millenium draws to its close, and as day draws nearer, Paula's intensely personal thoughts touch on all our tomorrows.

Brilliantly distilling half a century into one suspenseful night, as tender in its tone as it is deep in its soundings, Tomorrow is a magical exploration of coupledom, parenthood and selfhood, and a unique meditation on the mystery of happiness.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (20 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330450182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330450188
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 929,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Nothing rings false, all the emotions are just large enough...
the book weaves and undoes its quiet magic.' -- Guardian

'Swift's writing throughout is as assured and subtle as ever.' -- Spectator

'This is a writer of easy subtlety...whose writing gets its best
effects from tiny but striking abstractions.' -- Independent on Sunday

'characters are appealing and vivid, the details of their
courtship and marriage tenderly rendered.' -- Daily Mail

'this is Graham Swift at his impressive best' -- Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Graham Swift was born in 1949 and is the author of eight acclaimed novels and a collection of short stories. With Waterland he won the Guardian Fiction Prize (1983), and with Last Orders the Booker Prize (1996). Both novels have since been made into films. Graham Swift's work has appeared in over thirty languages.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars big disappointment 13 May 2007
First, I will say that I am a HUGE Graham Swift fan. In fact, I believe that he, along with Don Delillo, is one of the greatest living writers. Living in the U.S., I saw that the book wasn't to be released in the states until Sept. So I bought it from Amazon. UK.

Anyway, it's very "Swiftian," in that it deals with time and memories and how choices affect history.

The problem with the book is a) the main character who tells the story is not a very strong character (in fact, she is somewhat annoying, as she keeps saying to her kids, "you will know tomorrow").

Swift often uses this technique: to draw in the reader to a mystery. But in this case, not only is the story line uninteresting, so are the characters. Moreover, the "mystery" is not that shocking. What we find is a rambling and, quite frankly, boring narrative of people, relatives, we don't care about. No character, including the narrator, is interesting; in fact, no character seems "real."

For me, this book was a chore to finish. Read Waterland, Light of Day, Ever After, if you want to see Swift, a talented and gifted writer, at his best.

This book is a big disappointment.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Tedious 16 Aug 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Let me say from the start that I own all of Swift's books in 1st Edition hardback. I look forward to every novel. But lord, this book is tedious. This is a good idea done to death. Anyone who can't see the long drawn out punch line 50 pages in must be totally lacking in imagination. My advice would be to stop at that point and spend the time doing something more interesting - like watching paint dry! Swift's style is as pleasing as ever. I would like to think this book is an aberration - but that's what I thought about Iain Banks about 8 years ago and he has been writing rubbish ever since.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow meditation on the frailty of parenthood 15 April 2007
On a wet summer night in 1995 Paula Hook lies awake. Her husband, Mike, is asleep by her side, sleeping "on the eve of his execution." Her sixteen year old twins are in their bedrooms, completely unaware of what awaits them tomorrow. So while "everything's quiet, the house is still", Paula recalls the course of her fifty year life, attempting to fully explain the background to what Mike will tell their children tomorrow. Tomorrow. They have been avoiding this for sixteen years but now the time has come and the truth must be told. Tomorrow will transform their family forever.

The story that unfolds as night turns to dawn is both a solemn promise of love to her husband, and a requiem to the pretence of happy families. It is a study of identity, an insight into a woman who is at once an individual, a wife and a mother. Although narrated to address her children, it is a story they probably don't want to hear, the story of their mother as a human being, of her twenty-five year marriage and of her life before the children were born. Paula is telling the story of parenthood: from youth and desperate longing to unbridled joy and the experience of unequivocal ingratitude.

The atmosphere is authentic, reading it you can feel Paula's emotions and it is a delight to meet such a rounded and quietly likable character. Her vocabulary and language is bland and unremarkable but somehow Graham Swift manages to make is sound unobtrusively and naturally poignant. Many authors speak with the same voice in each novel but Swift has always had an aptitude for tailoring his prose to the nature of his characters. This is most apparent in `Last Orders' and `Waterland' and although this book is not as good as they were, it is apparent here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
It is 1995, and Paula (Campbell) Hook is lying awake in bed on the eve of a dramatic announcement which she and her husband Mike will make to their sixteen-year-old twins. They have delayed this life-changing occasion for several years, having decided to wait until after the twins, Nick and Kate, have celebrated their sixteenth birthday, fearful that they might be "wrenching [them] forever from [their] childhood." In the course of the night, Paula reminisces about her past, her thirty-year relationship with Mike, her wedding, the marriages of their parents and their parents' histories, the deaths of family members, the childhoods of the twins, and the concept of love across three generations.

Throughout the novel, Paula contrasts her present family life with the lives of her parents and Mike's parents, showing how each person's expectations for the future grow out of his/her upbringing, relationships with those who love them, and the historical period in which they happen to be living. Paula's meditations are conversational and very intimate, sometimes revolving around the sexual freedom she and Mike experienced, separately and together, in the sixties. While her personal confessions may be more than she ever actually plans to discuss with the twins (and it is certainly more than the twins need to know), they do add to the developing themes for the reader, preparing him/her for the announcement which is the crux of the novel.

Swift deliberately ignores two of the canons of fiction writing in order to relate Paula's story. First of all, he writes (surprisingly effectively) as a woman--sharing all a woman's intimacies, points of view, and attitudes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Yes. It is disappointing.
Like so many other reviewers I think Graham Swift is an excellent writer, but this book, rather than highlighting his strengths just seems to bring out the negative side of his... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ian Carus
3.0 out of 5 stars Distinctly disappointing by this writer's standards
I will concur that "Tomorrow", while typical of Graham Swift's themes, is far from being the novelist at his best, as in the masterpiece "Waterland", for example. Read more
Published 12 months ago by jfp2006
2.0 out of 5 stars Tomorrow
Arrived promptly and in very good condition. Read by my book group, none of us really enjoyed this book. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Book Club
4.0 out of 5 stars tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
This is a beautifully subtle and ordinary book. I would agree with some of the negative reviews that little happens and the reveal is hardly a surprise, but that's exactly what... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dillon the Villain
3.0 out of 5 stars Why tell?
Rather poorly reviewed novel, which is essentially a monologue lasting 5-6 hours full of flashbacks and -forewards of a woman's nightly fears for the morning to come, while her... Read more
Published 20 months ago by P. A. Doornbos
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear
My English teacher always told me that to call a book boring reflects more badly upon the reader than on the book. Read more
Published on 20 Sep 2011 by customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Creeps in this petty pace
Graham Swift's novel is a transcription of the thoughts of Paula, awake in bed one night whilst her husband Mike sleeps on soundly beside her. Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2011 by Mick Read
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much introspection, not enough action
Finding this hard going. Too much introspection, not enough action. Plus I don't really care about the main character. Why is that?
Published on 27 Jun 2011 by MadaboutBooks
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn .... yawn yawn - it's a pity Paula couldn't get to sleep before...
Unlike many of the reviewers here, I have NEVER read a Graham Swift novel before this and in fact, I've just finished it today. I have heard of Last Orders mind. Read more
Published on 28 May 2010 by SMc
1.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive and set up to be more shocking than it is
I love some of Graham Swift's other books but this one was a huge disappointment. The cover and then the narrator once it starts constantly refers to some huge revelation that she... Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2010 by F. Scott
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