Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tomorrow - Graham Swift

“You’re asleep, my angels, I assume. So, to my amazement and relief, is your father, like a man finding it in him to sleep on the eve of his execution. He’ll need all he can muster tomorrow. I’m the only one awake in the house on this night before the day that will change all our lives.”

What an intriguing beginning to a novel. I love a good first sentence or paragraph!

Tomorrow is a story about love, secrets, identity and most of all (to me) what it is to be a family.

“Brilliantly distilling half a century into one suspenseful night, as tender in its tone as it is deep in its resonance, Tomorrow is a magical exploration of coupledom, parenthood and individuality, and a unique meditation on the mysteries of happiness and belonging.”

Swift’s words flow - capture a sense of time, place and character. To read this book is like having your mother read you a bedtime story. The tone is that soothing - that gentle and loving. And, in fact, the story is told from the mother’s voice, her POV. She is “speaking” to her children, telling them the story of her life, their father’s life, their love and the history that brings them all to this fateful night.

The element of suspense is sustained until almost the end of the novel. What is it that will be revealed that day? I was seriously tempted to sneak a peak but refrained. (I only allow myself to cheat like that with a book I really don’t like and will probably never finish.)

At the point where the “dilemma” is finally revealed (the event and/or knowledge that will change their lives) I experienced some reservations. And I can’t provide an explanation as to my reservations without giving away the suspense, the heart of the story. Suffice to say, in my opinion, the supposed life-altering news did not strike me as that shattering. Nor could I envision any sort of disastrous consequence taking place as a result of the revelation.

This one flaw (that perhaps only I perceive?) does not take away from the fact this book was still an immense pleasure to read. When an author creates such beauty with language, holds your interest with a fascinating tale of love and makes you want to pick up the book every chance you have – he or she has created a book well worth the read.

Despite my reservations, I still highly recommend Tomorrow.

Read, enjoy – and perhaps let me know if you agree or disagree with me?


Angela said...

Wonderful opening lines. And thank you for the recommendation. I've been needing a new book lately but haven't known where to turn. I don't usually enjoy anything trendy. My soul seems to gravitate toward anything written a hundred years ago or so. Hope you're doing well, Beth!

patricia said...

What a wonderful review! And I concur, Swift's opening lines drew me in right away. I recall reading one book by him years ago...was it called 'Last Orders'? I enjoyed that story, but it seemed to me to not really 'move' very much at all. Not that is necessarily a bad thing. I'm getting the feeling that Swift is not as interested in plot as he is in character development and engaging story-telling. Do you agree?

Shari said...

Cool. This does sound interesting. Another book to earmark for when I have time to just read stuff that's not in a school textbook.

Dorky Dad said...

When I first read your headline I thought "she's going to post a book review tomorrow?" Then I realized that that was the book title. Silly me ...

Pavel said...

Yes, those opening sentences do capture my attention. I need to add it to my list.


Beth said...

Hello, fellow "English Major!"
Has your soul tried some of the great Russian authors?

Totally agree - and he's marvellous with the engaging story-telling.

If time permits (??) maybe you could do a little back and forth - escape into some fiction for a break once in awhile?

dorky dad:
That actually makes complete sense the way you read it. (I'm smiling.)
But perhaps a bit pompous of me to start pre-announcing reviews?!

Those beginning "hooks" get me every time!