One thing about Graham Swift is that you’ll never know what to expect. It could be the creepy Waterland or the nostalgic Last Orders (which I did not like) but with Mothering Sunday, Swift has written a classic novel.
So what makes a classic novel for me? well first of all the writing style is beautiful and in Mothering Sunday the sentences will make you gasp and drool. Secondly events have to be a bit vague but more sense when you keep on reading. Mothering Sunday begins with an upper class man having a steamy tryst with his neighbour’s maid. Thirdly there’s a lot of themes. In this case it’s about social classes, the result of certain actions, fate and how the idea of social class can change after a couple of decades. There’s probably more but these are the most obvious ones. Last there has to be a satisfying end, not closure, but a conclusion that makes you think. Again, Mothering Sunday wins in this aspect.
As you have noticed I was sketchy with the plot. In this case it is better. There’s a pleasant surprise when approaching this slim novel and uncovering all the secrets, the complexity of the two main characters and how Swift manages to create such a perfect novel.
Yes, the word may be overused but Mothering Sunday is a classic!