Here We Are by Graham Swift

1. First lines. 2. Published 2020 Simon and Schuster and Penguin Random House 3. Brighton Pier sign [Public Domain] via Public Domain Pictures Changes: Colored pencil sketch effect added. 4. magician, performing, woman, floating [CC0] via pxfuel Changes: Film grain filter added
Not a lot of magic here for me, although quite a pleasant read.

Jack Robinson is the compere of a show on Brighton Pier in the summer of 1959. He engages his friend Ronnie to do a magic show, and also talks him into advertising for an assistant. Evie is hired and the three enjoy friendship as well as much success as performers. In her old age, Evie tells the story of what happened at the end of that Summer to change things forever.

“He knew how to delay his entrance by just the critical number of seconds. He was calm. He was twenty-eight, but he was already a veteran, twelve years on stage, not counting a year and a half in the army. Timing was in the blood, think about it and you were lost.”

“Mrs Lawrence had a very nice way of saying whenever she proffered something, or sometimes for no clear reason at all.’Here we are!’ And Ronnie had come to love this bright and strangely echoing phrase. Here we are! How happy. And true.”

Mr Lawrence suddenly said, ‘Well bless me!’ He would use such cosy expressions – they were a bit like Mrs Lawrence’s ‘Here we are!’s.

~Quotes from “Here We Are” by Graham Swift
  • The Guardian: “a magical piece of writing: the work of a novelist on scintillating form.”
  • Publisher’s Weekly: “Swift’s brief, magical tale demonstrates one more brilliant example of his talent for pulling universal themes out of the hats of ordinary lives.”
  • Spectator: “It’s comforting and cosy, which are by no means futile attributes in a book, but it does make the effort of reading it feel mildly inconsequential. It’s a bit sad, a bit funny, a bit interesting — but only a bit. Swift does show admirable boldness in his refusal to provide a neat ending, but for a story about magic and showbiz, it’s weirdly lacking in pizzazz.”

Other edition.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s