Reading guide for Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Wish You Were Here

By Graham Swift

Wish You Were Here
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Apr 2012,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2013,
    336 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. "Wish you were here” is a powerful phrase in the novel. Why is it so significant?

  2. Jack says, “…cattle aren’t people, that’s a fact” (page 4). But in what ways in the novel are cattle like people, or vice versa?

  3. What parallels can you draw between Jack and Tom and the earlier pair of Luxton brothers?

  4. “To become the proprietor of the very opposite thing to that deep-rooted farmhouse. Holiday homes, on wheels.” (page 29) What is Swift telling us through Jack’s observation?

  5. What does their Caribbean holiday symbolize to Ellie? To Jack?

  6. Did Jack really want to leave Devon, ten years earlier? If Ellie hadn’t suggested the Isle of Wight, what do you think might have happened?

  7. Before they move, Jack sells the ancestral Luxton cradle, but keeps the shotgun and the medal. Why?

  8. Madness comes up again and again—mad-cow disease, the madness of war, the possibility that Jack has gone mad. What point is Swift making?

  9. Time shifts frequently over the course of the novel, hopscotching across decades. How does Swift use these shifts to expand and deepen the story?

  10. Why does Ellie refuse to accompany Jack back to Devon?

  11. Why is putting down Luke such a pivotal act for Tom and Jack?

  12. What do we learn when Swift shifts from Jack’s point of view to others’—Major Richards’s, the hearse driver’s, Bob Ireton’s? What do we learn from the brief section told from Tom’s perspective?

  13. At several points, Swift writes extended hypothetical passages—what might have happened if one character had said or done something slightly different. What effect does this have? How does it help to fully form the characters?

  14. How does the Robinsons’ transformation of Jebb Farm work as a metaphor for twenty-first-century life?

  15. “. . . anyone (including the owners of Jebb Farmhouse, had they been in occupation) might have seen two hand-prints on the top rail, one either side of the black-lettered name.” (page 267) What do Jack’s hand-prints symbolize?

  16. “Security” means different things to the Luxtons and the Robinsons. Which definition do you think Swift endorses?

  17. What does the medal represent? What does it mean when Jack tosses it into the sea?

  18. Does Tom really believe Ellie had a hand in Jimmy’s death? Why does he say it?

  19. Tom’s ghost plays a major role in the novel’s final scene. What does he represent?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Vintage. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

The most successful people are those who are good at plan B

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.