Tuesday, September 11, 2007

BOOK: Tomorrow by Graham Swift

Tomorrow by Graham Swift

This is the first book I've read by Swift, but I see he won the Man Booker Prize for Last Orders in 1996; since I'm reading all of those, I'll have to add Last Orders to the near top of the list.


This will be tricky to describe, because the plot unfolds slowly and the big reveal takes quite a while - almost too long, I was getting a little frustrated waiting for Paula to finally tell her twins what the big news is. That's the premise of the book - a mother is lying awake the night before she and her husband plan to tell their children something. We get a glimpse into the life of this family - the Hooks, through some pivotal times in history and in their everyday life. The things that make a family, the remembrances and events that all together make up the thing called 'our family.'

The difficult part is I can't give away the big news, and that makes some of the questions I want to ask not possible. It takes over half the book to get there, and I'm not sure it was as big a deal as Paula thought. But then again, it's not me, so maybe it is for someone else. Part of the problem is that it seems commonplace, but, maybe not if it is specifically you that has to deal with it. So, overall, this was a good book, an insight into a couple, both born as the war ends in 1945, meeting and attending college during the late sixties, and having kids later in life - a real boomer story. The mom reminisces their story, rambling somewhat, posing a lot of questions, and filling her son and daughter into the events that led her and Mike up to this night.


In some ways, Paula and Mike define the baby boomers, in that the times they lived through were pivotal - the Pill, divorces, changes in science, parents aging, and are typically boomer issues, and sometimes I get a little tired of boomers dealing with their issues as if they are the most important issues and no one has had to live through what they have, and blah, blah, blah. Not that this is Swift's fault, he actually nails it very well, and he was born in England in 1949 so he knows of what he speaks. I don't want to give the wrong impression, there is a whole bunch more to this story and it was well written and compelling - I wanted to keep reading and find out the what and the why of the discussion for 'tomorrow'. Swift raises lots of philosophical questions of who we are and what makes us the people we are.

2 comments:

ctoan said...

sometimes I get a little tired of boomers dealing with their issues ... blah, blah, blah. Not that this is Swift's fault,
Heh. I know whose fault it is. :)

Email me about the book. I want to know what the big news is.

Booklogged said...

I'm a baby boomer and get pretty tired of their issues, too! You make this book sound interesting and the fact that you want to read another of Swift's convinces me to add him to my list. Thanks for the good review, Raidergirl3.