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  • Published: 15 February 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446434772
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 160

They Came Like Swallows




Discover William Maxwell's classic, heart-breaking portrait of an ordinary American family struck by the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic

Discover William Maxwell's classic, heart-breaking portrait of an ordinary American family struck by the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic

'A story of such engaging warmth that it would thaw the heart of any critic. Will melt many a reader to tears' TIME
Elizabeth Morison is an ordinary woman.

Yet, to eight-year-old Bunny, his mother is the centre of his universe. To Robert, her elder son, she is someone he must protect against the dangers of the outside world. And to her husband, James, she is the foundation on which his family rests and life without her is unimaginable.

As the dark winter of 1918 dawns and the shadow of Spanish flu starts to disturb day-to-day life, a moving portrait of Elizabeth takes shape, set against the lives and fate of the Morison family.

'As you read They Came Like Swallows, you catch yourself from time to time being astonished at how tightly you're gripping the pages. There isn't a word that has dated. It could have been written yesterday, or tomorrow' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

  • Published: 15 February 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446434772
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 160

About the author

William Maxwell

William Maxwell (1908-2000) was born in Illinois. He was the author of a distinguished body of work: six novels, three short story collections, an autobiographical memoir and a collection of literary essays and reviews. A New Yorker editor for 40 years, he helped to shape the prose and careers of John Updike, John Cheever, John O'Hara, Sylvia Townsend Warner and Eudora Welty. His novel, So Long Tomorrow won the American Book Award, and in 1995 he received the PEN/Malamud Award.

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Praise for They Came Like Swallows

Illness, regret, recovery, loss: it's our times in another key. We watch as ordinary lives take an extraordinary turn — the flu felling some and sparing others, and laying bare their emotional lives as it goes

Gish Jen

Maxwell does something all great novelists do: he conjures depths of pain and regret in words of radiant simplicity

Anthony Quinn, Observer

As you read They Came Like Swallows, you catch yourself from time to time being astonished at how tightly you're gripping the pages… There isn't a word that has dated. It could have been written yesterday, or tomorrow

Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

A story of such engaging warmth that it would thaw the heart of any critic… Will melt many a reader to tears

TIME

As the voices of Austen, Turgenev and Tolstoy have survived, so will Maxwell's

The Times

This characteristically gentle story about a family tragedy lingers long in the memory as does all this master's work

Irish Times

An excellent introduction to his sympathetic, refined and humane art, and is a most moving and impressive artefact in itself

Independent on Sunday

A lovely, heartbreaking book

New York Sun

Rare...exquisite...a cameo-like perfection

New York Herald Tribune

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