Sunday, April 22, 2007

Reviewing ‘Tomorrow’ by Graham Swift

This book contains the reflections of a wife and a mother the night before an event which is likely to reframe the lives of this family.

The title and the plot from the outset create a suspense that arouses curiosity and motivates the reader to turn the pages. Each chapter alludes to the big event of ‘tomorrow’ and sometimes these repeated reminders are annoying or are they indicators of the anxiety of the storyteller that is being magnified by the darkness of the night?

Gradually the fragments of information are dropped between the lines to disclose the secret and on the way many other family secrets are shared by the mother who is setting the record straight for her children.

This nocturnal stream of consciousness is an intriguing ‘leafing through of the mental almanac’ and is an appreciation of the twists, the turns and the treasures that have gone into the making of this family. These memories that ‘float into the head’ are personal ones but readers will find questions raised and thoughts expressed that will mirror many of their own deep wonderings.

This is a good book because it is about children and cats, family and friends, feelings and fears, the things in family life that stir the appreciation and those which cause one to be afraid.

The storyteller is “pillow-talking to herself.” Some adults will find it gripping while others will feel that the intimate reflections should be left in the bedroom. While the mother tells the story to her teenage children it would be interesting to see how young readers respond to a parent revealing such heart-to-heart and behind the scenes details.

Graham Swift has an easy style and is a wordsmith who plays with phrases and admires the beauty of words.

How do each of the family members and the readers respond to the great events tomorrow?

Graham Swift, Tomorrow (London: Picador, 2007). This book is available from McGrudy’s Bookstores in the United Arab Emirates where it costs Dh 102.00.

Geoff Pound

Image: Graham Swift.