Mothering Sunday eBook ð Hardcover


10 thoughts on “Mothering Sunday

  1. Ilse Ilse says:

    The gathering evening, the apricot light, the gauzy green gold world, was impossibly beautiful Take a look at this self conscious woman stretched out languorously with her head on a blue cushion, entirely at ease in her sublimely languid nakedness Amedeo Modigliani s Reclining Nude on the cover of this enchanting novella perfectly conjures the mysteries surrounding the young protagonist of Mothering Sunday, Jane Fairchild The sultry look in her nearly closed eyes How would you imagine her The gathering evening, the apricot light, the gauzy green gold world, was impossibly beautiful Take a look at this self conscious woman stretched out languorously with her head on a blue cushion, entirely at ease in her sublimely languid nakedness Amedeo Modigliani s Reclining Nude on the cover of this enchanting novella perfectly conjures the mysteries surrounding the young protagonist of Mothering Sunday, Jane Fairchild The sultry look in her nearly closed eyes How would you imagine her life, present, past and future What is on her mind Is she a reader, just like you Perhaps you don t care, and are you just focusing on her voluptuous body, like her lover does And when she d told him about her own reading at Beechwood she wished she hadn t he d scoffed, as he scoffed at so many things, and said, All that tommyrot, Jay You read all that stuff And reminded her at once that their relationship was essentially bodily, physical and here and now, it wasn t for droning on about books. Set in south east England, Swift depicts the events happening in two neighbouring country houses on a single day, 30 March 1924, a mothering Sunday a day off for the servants so they can pay a visit to their mothers or family As an orphan, Jane Fairchild, the domestic servant girl working in the Niven household, has no family to return to and imagines spending her day cycling, and reading Conrad s Youth A call from the neighbouring house implies changing her plans into making love with her secret lover instead, the only son of both houses who survived the trenches, while the other 4 have died, leaving empty rooms kept like shrines That lover for years, Paul Sheringham, is on the verge of entering a proper marriage of convenience with his wealthy fianc e, and invites Jane for a first and perhaps last time to his home and bed, having the house for themselves.This is no sappy story of unhappy or impossible love or formulary variation on the masters servants theme There is grief Loss Motherless children Childless mothers The tenderness and indulgence of a grieving father having lost everything dear to him Class and feminist issues in a society in transition Swift acknowledges there isto a woman s life than romantic love Books for instance Jane is no pitiful or miserable orphan, she is a smart and feisty young woman instead of whining, she embraces life, exploring the full wingspan of her relative freedom as a blessingShe d been put into service at fourteen with a relatively advanced ability to read and write and free from all family ties with perhapsthan a usual eagerness for lifeWhat a difference a day makes Twenty four little hours This luscious, warm day in March and the tragedy slowly creeping into it, will turn out to be a watershed that will colour the rest of Jane s life A sudden unexpected freedom flooded her Her life was beginning, it was not ending, it had not ended She would never be able to explain or be required to this illogical, enveloping inversion As if the day had turned inside out, as if what she was leaving behind was not enclosed, lost, entombed in a house It had merged somehow pouring itself outwards with the air she was breathing She would never be able to explain it, and she would not feel it any the less even when she discovered, as she would do, how this day had turned really inside out Could life be so cruel yet so bounteous at the same timeThroughout the novella Swift offers vistas into Jane s later life as a writer In her novels she will never disclose which realities have actually moulded her identity as a writer, contemplating how different things would have been if she had been reading that day in March, instead of cycling to Paul s house, or what would have happened to her if she didn t had entered service, or what if other significant moments had got a different outcome, like if her employer wouldn t have granted her access to the house library, to read the adventure books of his late sons Essentially, she and Swift meditates on her and Swift s mission as a writer Telling stories, telling tales Always the implication that you were trading in lies But for her it would always be the task of getting to the quick, the heart, the nub, the pith the trade of truth telling By presenting a jocose female writer to write about writing, Swift has crafted a magnificent and sensual hymn to books, libraries and the art of storytelling, and a bounteous ode to life So what was it then exactly, this truth telling They would always want even the explanation explained And any writer worth her salt would lead them on, tease them, lead them up the garden path Wasn t it bloody obvious It was about being true to the very stuff of life, it was about trying to capture, though you never could, the very feel of being alive It was about finding a language And it was about being true to the fact, the one thing only followed from the other, that many things in life oh so manythan we think can never be explained at all.


  2. Agnieszka Agnieszka says:

    enjoy your youth Mothering Sunday Such an old fashioned name for the day when servants had their day off so they could go home, visit families In this day the whole world order seemed to be reversed and landlords without daily help of their servants were childly helpless and the routine of housework almost ruined Mothering Sunday is a record of one single day, 30 March 1924 and its heroine Jane Fairchild is twenty two then and works at Nivens household as a maid She s an orphan, a foun enjoy your youth Mothering Sunday Such an old fashioned name for the day when servants had their day off so they could go home, visit families In this day the whole world order seemed to be reversed and landlords without daily help of their servants were childly helpless and the routine of housework almost ruined Mothering Sunday is a record of one single day, 30 March 1924 and its heroine Jane Fairchild is twenty two then and works at Nivens household as a maid She s an orphan, a foundling with no home and parents to go so she may celebrate her day whatever she chooses Cycling through green country, it s March though it feelslike June, or sitting under a tree with Conrad s Youthin her hands Or, since everything is possible on such a lovely day, answer the call from her lover Paul Sheringham from nearby estate.Youth Such a word Youth Foundling Orphan Orchid Jane is only gathering words Savoring its texture, learning its weigh One day she would become a writer and leave behind her everything except that day But for now she just collects words.In this day the whole world order seems to be reversed Like then when Paul is slowly undressing Jane, isn t it her job as a servant There is no rush this time, no furtively stolen kisses, no hasty sex in the shed or greenhouse There is a sensual pleasure in exposing body, shameless awareness of own beauty and youth, there is a leisurely lovemaking and post coital languor Looking at sated Jane lying on the bed Paul is dressing himself He has an appointment with his soon to be wife but seems to not be in hurry at all It s only March though it feels like June, sun pours through open windows, half dressed Paul s carefully choosing his clothes and on the shelves photos of his late brothers, immovable, frozen in time and eternal youthWhere have all the young men goneBut youth was slaughtered in trenches and at Flanders fields and Paul is the only remained heir of Sheringhams and makeshift son for the Nivens, their neighborsMothering Sundayis achingly beautiful novella I was enchanted by the way Swift captured so many emotions and meaning with so little words, from which some additionally are a few times repeated Narration is slow and languorously unhurried, full of detailed descriptions as if you had only this one precious moment to memorize that day so you could relive it again and again through the years to come There is such an atmosphere and dream like ambience in the scenes when Paul is out of the picture already and Jane having his house to herself, comfortable with her nudity, is wandering through its rooms Watching, absorbing, remembering Leaving unmade bed and scattered clothes At this very moment she is not a maid Such a perfect ending for the glorious dayThere never was a day like this, nor even would or could be again .Swift with subtlety and finesse conjured an image that is wistful being still erotic, fortunately avoiding vulgarity and triviality ButMothering Sunday is muchthan this review implies It s about sense of loss and grieving after the sons that perished in the Great War, it s about storytelling and the role of a writer, it s about gaining independence and self awareness But what mostly beguiled me in the novel lies in its style and aura, that evocation of one crucial moment from the past that defined Jane and coloured her whole subsequent life.4.5 5


  3. Fionnuala Fionnuala says:

    The arrestingly beautiful painting on the front cover of my copy of this book is a detail cropped from a larger painting, Nu couch 1917, by Amedeo Modigliani, in which the artist had already chosen to crop the figure s lower legs and hands and the top of the head On the back cover of the book, the painting is further cropped and becomes evenpowerful as a result of the zooming in I think Graham Swift s publishing team made an inspired cover choice I ve rarely come across a jacket desig The arrestingly beautiful painting on the front cover of my copy of this book is a detail cropped from a larger painting, Nu couch 1917, by Amedeo Modigliani, in which the artist had already chosen to crop the figure s lower legs and hands and the top of the head On the back cover of the book, the painting is further cropped and becomes evenpowerful as a result of the zooming in I think Graham Swift s publishing team made an inspired cover choice I ve rarely come across a jacket design that fits the subject matter as well as this one does Not only is a large part of the book narrated by a naked woman looking out at the world from a bed, but her narrative zooms in on her subject matter in a very clever way she takes us right up close to the events of the story, which covers the period 1917 to 1924, and we feel, we know, that everything that isn t absolutely essential to the telling has been cropped So, a short book and an economical one And quite as beautiful in its way as the Modigliani, though we are given, not the artist s gaze but the model s


  4. Gaurav Gaurav says:

    One s literary life must turn frequently for sustenance to memories and seek discourse with the shades unless one has made up one s mind to write only in order to reprove mankind for what it is, or praise it for what it is not, or generally to teach it how to behave So wrote Joseph Conrad in A Personal RecordHow many times it happens that a single moment conjures up the entire narrative, the whole story seems to evolve from that particular event and still it comes across you so beaOne s literary life must turn frequently for sustenance to memories and seek discourse with the shades unless one has made up one s mind to write only in order to reprove mankind for what it is, or praise it for what it is not, or generally to teach it how to behave So wrote Joseph Conrad in A Personal RecordHow many times it happens that a single moment conjures up the entire narrative, the whole story seems to evolve from that particular event and still it comes across you so beautifully that you the reader seem to be part of it the author, who can brings up such intense prose, is definitely a master in his art Mothering Sunday revolves around one such event and its aftermath Jane, orphan and housemaid, lies showered in March daylight in her sweetheart s quaint little inn him dress unthinkably, wonderfully gradually to abandon her for his future spouse, the account, while layered with premonition, gathers the soaked sensual force of a Donne sonnet How she occupy her time when she has no mother to visit How, shaped by the events of this never to be forgotten day, will her future unfold She has her unfathomable freedom which can t be measured or taken away, which is something she may be said to be rich of despite being motherless maidservant along with a book and half a crown in her pocket bestowed by a kindly employer who, his sons dead in France and his domestic staff reduced, is inclined to be indulgent to her youthFeast your eyes It was an expression that came to her Expressions had started to come to her Feast your eyes Graham Swift shows us that how Jane s vocation writing took birth the observational gifts she developed as a housemaid, the solitude of her lifestyle gives her ample opportunity to rear those traits which, of course, others who are blinded with veil of class may not notice the freedom she felt, as an orphan, to invent an identity for herself her love of books facilitated by her access to the library in the house where she worked The seemingly docile circumstances around her turn out to be fertile ground where seeds of observance, love and talent sprouted and Jane, as world then know her, stood strong on that Jane may be the motherless maidservant and Paul the carelessly privileged heir, but as she rises from their bed in the wake of his departure, walks naked through his grand empty house and begins to exercise her novelist s entitlement to watch, to observe, to describe and to transcend her circumstances the balance of power shifts momentously in her favour and Swift s small fiction feels like a masterpieceThere was also the word fiction one day this would be the very thing she dealt in which could seem almost totally dismissive of truth A complete fiction Yet something that was clearly and completely fiction could also contain this was the nub and the mystery of the matter truth Swift has full grip on his narrative and perfectly knows what is to reveal and what is to conceal Time slows and there are moments that could be described as Proustian or perhaps,accurately, as reminiscent of Edward Thomas s great poem Adlestrop Here is Jane stopping on her bicycle on her way home to listen to the day passing There was not a murmur, in any direction, of traffic There was only the birdsong and, in the warm air, the half heard stirring and rousing of everything SpringThis moment of stillness is symptomatic of the book s determined lyricism Swift is an undoubted master of detail and delay, working by a process of meditation and accumulation to create a narrative that carries farheft than one might assume from its lengthBy then she d think that Conrad himself must be a sort of secret agent, slipping between worlds And much later she d think and sometimes say that all writers are secret agents But perhaps the truth was though she wouldn t say this that we are all secret agents, that s what we are Though the plot of the novella is quite straight forward and there are not many thrills for the reader and in fact the reader may even know the outcome of the events well before they materalize, however still an unknown urge keeps you moving For, it is not always the plot where a book attains its fate, sometimes what matters style and impression than content the persistence of memory and the ensuing feeling of dissociation that rises in Jane Fairchild This is a sensation that most writers share, the ultimate mix of reality and recollection that invites us on the almost interminably frustrating mental journey to make sense of life, which gives us bliss close to that by poetry the most refined form of literature.The tenacity of this glorious novella may be ascertained from the fact that when you come across last moments of this beautiful romance with tinge of tragedy, you wish that it could be extended indefinitely Jane the writer, giving interviews on her work, is always conscious that a writer s work is not only about what she reveals but it is also about what is concealed for the power of concealing is too strong which what is revealed may not overcome and in fact perhaps that is what differentiate between great and good piece of art and the reader knows too that such intensity cannot be overextended for the bliss of imagination is too much for the obvious Nor is it accidental that the shyest, most unassuming of narrative forms has been chosen for this, the tale that Jane will never tell and the baton which, by literary sleight of hand, is passed to SwiftIt was about being true to the very stuff of life, it was about trying to capture, though you never could, the very feel of being alive It was about finding a language And it was about being true to the fact, the one thing only followed from the other, that many things in life oh so manythan we think can never be explained at all


  5. Robin Robin says:

    Feast your eyesGolden Rain by Leon Francois ComerreThe first half of this seductive novella, Jane Fairchild is reclining much like this nude, a post coital feast for the eyes of her lover Paul She also feasts on him, his thoroughbred body and the minutia of his every movement It is a slow, sensual feast for the reader too, as we share this very private time, which proves to be pivotal in our heroine s life, Mothering Sunday 1924.Jane is a maid at Beechwood, and today Paul, the dashinFeast your eyesGolden Rain by Leon Francois ComerreThe first half of this seductive novella, Jane Fairchild is reclining much like this nude, a post coital feast for the eyes of her lover Paul She also feasts on him, his thoroughbred body and the minutia of his every movement It is a slow, sensual feast for the reader too, as we share this very private time, which proves to be pivotal in our heroine s life, Mothering Sunday 1924.Jane is a maid at Beechwood, and today Paul, the dashing young master of neighbouring Upleigh is headed out for lunch with Emma, a lady of means, who he will marry in a few weeks This may be the last time he and Jane will be together.Even though the scene is lovely, sun bathed and languorous, even though it is unpolluted by percussive words and emotions, a tension builds This is achieved through a lyrical repetitiveness, and the knowledge that this day marks a life changing point on Jane s map.It was just delicious to read, it was a feast Graham Swift, with his writerly magic, turned a rather unoriginal story into something captivating, iconic, empowered It brought to mind for me McEwan s On Chesil Beach Both novellas encapsulate one meaningful day, and show how one day can influence and shape an entire life, in breathtaking simplicity.This book, however, didn t hold the perfection of purpose I enjoyed in McEwan s story The last third veered into places that didn t seem to belong The tension and mood broke for me when Swift focussed on Jane s later, literary life I heard his voice, and I learned all about Joseph Conrad Normally, I like authorial consciousness in books that I read, and I do see what he was doing, but it came too suddenly, it needed to be part of the book from the beginning, to belong The spell he cast was broken, dousing the lovers and this reader in a shower of chilly, off topic prose That said, what a lovely story, what a beautiful vignette, a tasty little feast


  6. Julie Ehlers Julie Ehlers says:

    In Mothering Sunday, a young man and a young woman who really shouldn t be consorting with each other have an afternoon assignation Then the young man leaves, and the young woman, our protagonist, wanders around his house naked for a while, thinking the same thoughts over and over again She thinks a lot about the fact that she s naked, for instance And she thinks a lot about a patch of semen left on the sheet of the bed upstairs No offense to any men reading this, but most women just don t In Mothering Sunday, a young man and a young woman who really shouldn t be consorting with each other have an afternoon assignation Then the young man leaves, and the young woman, our protagonist, wanders around his house naked for a while, thinking the same thoughts over and over again She thinks a lot about the fact that she s naked, for instance And she thinks a lot about a patch of semen left on the sheet of the bed upstairs No offense to any men reading this, but most women just don t think that much about semen in real life We think about it for a few seconds at a time at most But anyway, this first part of the book is nearly all interior and so repetitive So Repetitive The interiority made me think Swift was trying for a Virginia Woolf type of thing, but sadly this part of the book has neither the beauty nor the insight that Woolf herself might bring It s just our protagonist, Jane, going around and around about being naked and about semen and about a few other things I won t mention because they re a bit spoilery.Then finally, exactly halfway through the book, some plot actually happens Unfortunately, it was precisely what I suspected would happen it was predictable and unoriginal, and therefore mostly just annoying to me BUT I do have to say that Swift handled the aftermath of the plot twist quite well, and I ended this book thinking muchfondly of it than I ever expected I would hence the three stars instead of two.So should you read Mothering Sunday That depends Do you like Virginia Woolf lite Do you like Ian McEwan, because this reminded me a bit of his On Chesil Beach they re both short, largely interior novels about a young couple who each don t really know what the other is thinking If you answered yes to either of these questions, you might like Mothering Sunday Also, do you like hearing a lot about wait for it patches of semen on sheets Are you annoyed that I keep talking about semen Well, don t shoot the messenger if there weren t so many mentions of it in the book, I wouldn t have to mention it in my review, and we d all be a lot happier But one thing s for sure If you don t like hearing about it here, you probably won t like hearing about it in Mothering Sunday either You ve been warned Finally, I ve just read some of the other Goodreads reviews for this and now I m worried I m going to be burned at the stake for my irreverence toward this tome that others regard so highly But what can I say It s not my fault that when I think about this book all I can think about is well, you can probably guess Okay, I ll just stop talking now Have a good evening, everyone


  7. Trish Trish says:

    This delicious short novel is in many ways a Mother s Day dream It is a novel short enough to be read in a long, lazy afternoon it is a novel for mature audiences, weathered in relationships and outcomes, who bring a kind of life knowledge to one remarkable spring day in 1924 when sunlight poured over yellow and green fields and not a smudge marred the bright blue of the sky In March a day like June, warm and golden, pregnant with potential and possibility The strange undercurrent of forebod This delicious short novel is in many ways a Mother s Day dream It is a novel short enough to be read in a long, lazy afternoon it is a novel for mature audiences, weathered in relationships and outcomes, who bring a kind of life knowledge to one remarkable spring day in 1924 when sunlight poured over yellow and green fields and not a smudge marred the bright blue of the sky In March a day like June, warm and golden, pregnant with potential and possibility The strange undercurrent of foreboding that springs unbidden feels like something we bring as we recall in some remembered way the lovemaking in the big house empty in the afternoon with the windows opened wide to streaming sunlight and perhaps a breeze the sunlight applauded their nakedness A young scion and the maid He says they were friends He did treat her as a friend exactly as a friend Their lovemaking was like a sport He did not talk of the future there was no need He needn t say goodbye, since it wasn t goodbye was it He would marry, but perhaps they would continue their friendship long after One doesn t lose one s friends when one gets married Not necessarily Our judgement makes us uncomfortable, but we d be wrong The foreboding won t point to that at all The lovemaking was the maid s liberation, not her downfall She learned to be comfortable in herself there.Swift shows his mastery of the form in this novel, telling us pieces of backstory interspersed with conversation and movement a phone call bidding the maid, fragrant air filled with light and birdsong, a bike ride past still leafless trees casting skeleton shade on new green and buds ready to open We will never forget the day, so rare and so precious Mothering Day The staff are off to visit their own parents and the scion is preparing for his wedding in a fortnight to the daughter of a wealthy family His own parents lost two sons in the last war and he is the last of the brood This is usually a day of remembrance, but it is such an unusual day, coming as it does a fortnight before a wedding The beauty of the day suffuses the story and works its magic on us, despite our reservations We are unprepared, then, for the foreboding to manifest when it does, finally And we are unprepared also for the long course of history that plays out from the maid s point of view how this day will remain in her memory forever and what it meant to her life s work It raises questions about the nature and role of fiction and how one gets to the place where fiction can be truth True things can be imagined, just as fiction can spring from truth Sometimes fiction might even get closer to truth than real life, getting as it does to the quick, the heart, the nub, the pith That is the trade of fiction, the trade of truth telling It was about being true to the very stuff of life, it was about trying to capture, though you never could, the very feel of being alive And that is what what this book does It feels lived.I hope it is not too late for everyone to buy this gem of a novel before Mother s Day It is a rush


  8. Karen Karen says:

    A secret 7 yr love affair between a young English country maid Jane Fairchild, and a wealthy heir Paul Sheringham, from a neighboring property It is spring of 1924 This tells how the events of one day, shaped the life of Jane who lived well into her 90 s


  9. Diane Barnes Diane Barnes says:

    This is totally my kind of book The story of a woman s life told through the events of one day in 1924 Beautiful writing Graham Swift is one of my favorite authors, I m never disappointed in his books.


  10. Hugh Hugh says:

    It has been several years since I read anything by Graham Swift, but I enjoyed this quiet novella Most of the book is set on a single day in 1924 The book has an anonymous third person narrator, but is told from the perspective of Jane Fairchild, an orphan working as a maid in a small country house, who has been involved with Paul Sheringham, aprosperous young neighbour who is due to marry largely for money a few weeks later He invites her there for Mothering Sunday, having ensured th It has been several years since I read anything by Graham Swift, but I enjoyed this quiet novella Most of the book is set on a single day in 1924 The book has an anonymous third person narrator, but is told from the perspective of Jane Fairchild, an orphan working as a maid in a small country house, who has been involved with Paul Sheringham, aprosperous young neighbour who is due to marry largely for money a few weeks later He invites her there for Mothering Sunday, having ensured that the house will be empty Their tryst is described in languorous detail, after which Paul departs late for a lunch with his fiancee, leaving Jane alone and naked to explore the big house Paul dies in a car crash later the same afternoon, leaving Jane to reflect on what clues she may have left behind.There is also a metafictional element Jane is looking back on these events as a successful novelist in her eighties, so much of the book is about the writing process itself we learn about the ways she has used elements of her story, what she has never revealed, and also about how exposure to writers like Joseph Conrad helped her as a writer, thanks to her employers library All of this is beautifully described, making the book a pleasure to read, albeit one that was over rather quickly


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Mothering Sunday [PDF / Epub] ☁ Mothering Sunday ✎ Graham Swift – Liversite.co.uk A luminous, intensely moving tale that begins with a secret lovers assignation in the spring of , then unfolds to reveal the whole of a remarkable lifeTwenty two year old Jane Fairchild has worked as A luminous, intensely moving tale that begins with a secret lovers assignation in the spring of , then unfolds to reveal the whole of a remarkable lifeTwenty two year old Jane Fairchild has worked as a maid at an English country house since she was sixteen For almost all of those years she has been the clandestine lover to Paul Sheringham, young heir of a neighboring house The two now meet on an unseasonably warm March day Mothering Sunday a day that will change Jane s life forever As the narrative moves back and forth fromto the end of the century, what we know and understand about Jane about the way she loves, thinks, feels, sees, remembers expands with every vividly captured moment Her story is one of profound self discovery, and through her, Graham Swift has created an emotionally soaring, deeply affecting work of fiction.

  • Hardcover
  • 177 pages
  • Mothering Sunday
  • Graham Swift
  • English
  • 20 October 2019
  • 1101947527

About the Author: Graham Swift

Graham Colin Swift FRSL born May , is a British author He was born in London, England and educated at Dulwich College, London, Queens College, Cambridge, and later the University of York He was a friend of Ted HughesSome of his works have been made into films, including Last Orders, which starred Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins and Waterland which starred Jeremy Irons Last Orders was a joint winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and a mildly controversial winner of the Booker Prize in , owing to the superficial similarities in plot to William Faulkner s As I Lay Dying Waterland was set in The Fens it is a novel of landscape, history and family, and is often cited as one of the outstanding post war British novels and has been a set text on the English Literature syllabus in British schools.