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They Came Like Swallows Paperback – 28 Dec 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Paperback, 28 Dec 2000
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Press; New edition edition (28 Dec. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860468136
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860468131
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,573,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

In the Morison house the important goes unsaid and indirection is the operative mode--conversation stops where it should start and key terms such as fear, pain and pregnancy fail to be addressed. The younger son, an eight-year-old, passes his days deciphering adults' inaccessible discussions. "In this fashion they communicated with each other, out of knowledge and experience inaccessible to Bunny. By nods and silences. By a tired curve of his mother's mouth. By his father's measuring glance over the top of his spectacles". Bunny's older brother would rather escape to the outside world, and their father finds declaiming the day's headlines--the end of World War I and the onslaught of Spanish Influenza--far preferable to engagement. Only Elizabeth, their mother, is capable of holding the family together. The fifth main character in They Came Like Swallows is the house itself. Maxwell expresses the boys' reactions through this labile, interior landscape. Bunny finds the dining room can be "braced and ready for excitement"; later his brother realises "for the first time how still the house was, how full of waiting ... tense and expectant". Though war never makes it to Illinois, the flu changes all. First Bunny is stricken, and once he recovers Elizabeth, pregnant, dies from it. In quiet, piercing prose, William Maxwell's second novel, originally published in 1937, evokes the greatest of losses and the terrors of imagination. --Amazon.com

Synopsis

A sensitive portrait of an American family and of the complex woman who is its emotional pillar. Beautifully observed, deftly rendering the civilities and constraints of a vanished era, the novel measures the subterranean currents of love and need that run all our lives.



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7 March 2018
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17 March 2011
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6 October 2013
Format: Paperback
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10 September 2014
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