I was looking forward to reading Wish You Were Here because I heard that fans were so excited to see a new Graham Swift, and it has not disappointed.
The lesson I took away from Wish You Were Here is that if grief is not dealt with, it will build up until it grabs you by the throat and throttles you. The message is a reminder to us, particularly our men folk, to process the grief that visits us throughout our lives.
A family of cattle farmers in Devon, England are an ordinary family visited by the not-unusual tragedies of life, and the son seems to cope with his losses – the loss of family members from cancer and tragedy, and the ruination of the family business.
Unfortunately, however, the son has not actually confronted his issues of a lifetime. He remembers postcards signed off with ‘Wish You Were Here’ and recalls, detached, pivotal times in his life. This leads him to one day sit on his bed, waiting for his wife, with … well, I can’t give it away.
Wish You Were Here is a thought-provoking look at contemporary British life, but will translate to anywhere, any family, any time.
By Jenny Mann