Title: Wish You Were Here
Authors: Swift, Graham
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 336
Year: 2010
Publisher: Picador
Language: English
Description: The Luxtons have been Devon farmers for generations but the changing face of the English countryside has put paid to that. Jack (and his wife Ellie) now manage a caravan park on the Isle of Wight. When his younger brother Tom is killed while fighting in Iraq, it is crisis time for Jack, a gentle man haunted by his past and the tragedies his family have suffered.

Beautifully crafted and with a subtle build-up of tension, this is the story of an ordinary man confronting grief and loss. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups:

Rather than enjoying this book, our group was divided in finding it either compelling or a hard read. We had a lively discussion and those who hadn't finished it would be doing so. Christchurch 010

A challenging read, not one you'd give to everybody. Various comments from members: long slog; well written; ended up absolutely engrossed; wouldn't recommend it; remarkable; depressing. Taupo 004

We all liked the book. Reservations expressed by some members about the degree of detail for some minor characters. Wellington 001

Most people said they wouldn't recommend the book but during the discussion we found many points of interest. Havelock 005

Most of our members thought this book was well-written, but it was only after the discussion that their opinion of it improved as we began to see how it was constructed. Most members found it hard going until the final chapter, which was really gripping. Lower Hutt 004

Only two of our nine enjoyed this book. Most found it too gloomy. However the two who enjoyed it felt motivated to read more by this author. Auckland 277
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Grief/loss, Relationships, Larger font


[Please log in to write a review]
By: UPHU 003 2021-10-29 11:43:20
Of the five who read the book only one liked it. Most felt that the complex writing style made for slow, difficult reading on a depressing topic. The one member of the group who liked it found it poignant and enthralling (after the slow start). Readers do need to persevere with the convoluted writing structure.

By: FEILD 002 2021-10-29 11:36:34
A very complex book with lots of layers to work through.

By: LOWER 002 2021-10-29 11:35:50
One member commented that she was not very hopeful for this book at first, but became very engaged as she read on. Others agreed. Lots of discussion covering war, family, mental health, and the endurance in our psyches of those we love who have died.

By: GREYT 001 2021-10-29 11:33:32
Beautifully written book, although characters rather bleak.

By: OXF 001 2021-10-29 11:32:44
I and one other member loved it. Most found it too dark. However the discussion was very lively and one of the best for a while!

By: NELS 040 2021-10-29 11:31:10
A divisive book! Some loved it, some did not. A good discussion ensued.

By: SOUTH 001 2021-10-29 11:29:49
As much as we thought the content of this story was compelling, we all found the writing style tedious as the author made assumptions of other people's thoughts and feelings in the story. Some of our group didn't finish the book because of this.

By: HUNTLY 001 2021-10-29 11:27:33
We found this book hard to get into. Very bleak for the first half. However, those who persevered to the end were glad they did, and we had a very interesting discussion about it.

By: CHCH 033 2021-09-29 13:22:32
Opinions varied a lot on this one. Most found it hard to get into, but once we persevered it got better!!

By: NAP 021 2020-06-04 16:02:06
Two members of 11 actually finished reading this book. Not a favourite I am afraid. Most struggled to get to grips with the book.

The Book Discussion 
Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
BDS is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations