I seem to write novels that are domestic and undomestic, rooted and uprooted at the same time. In
Wish You Were Here all this is focused in the
paradoxical word "repatriation".
- Graham Swift, in an
interview with The
Often, repatriation is used to describe the ceremonial process of a soldier, killed while in service in a foreign country, being returned home for burial. More broadly, repatriation can also represent the journey a person takes to return to their roots - their place of origin or citizenship. Graham Swift skillfully weaves both definitions of the term into Wish You Were Here
, as he portrays a soldier's final journey home, and his brother's more symbolic travels to meet him there. In this ninth novel, Swift returns to the same motifs - broken family relationships, English landscapes, and an internal narrative based on...
Beyond the Book
In Graham Swift's novel, Wish You Were Here
, the Luxton family twice loses their dairy herds to mass slaughter in the wake of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Foot and Mouth Disease
(FMD) outbreaks. Two very distinct and separate diseases, BSE and FMD, when they surface in agriculture, can be utterly devastating to farmers and national economies.
BSE is more commonly known as "Mad Cow Disease"
and is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that attacks cows specifically. It causes the brain and spinal cord of affected animals to suffer a spongy
deterioration, so called because of the formation of tiny sponge-like holes in the brain tissue. The United Kingdom has been most extremely impacted by BSE where it was first identified by a laboratory in November...