Here We Are, by Graham Swift. 10 December 2021

This is Graham  Swift’s 11th novel, and it shows the hand of an accomplished writer. It is set in a typical British seaside resort in the 50s, with all the dated feel of the atmosphere of that time. The beautifully written story is revealed in flashbacks, a device that we’ve experienced in so many of the books that we’ve read recently. 

The three main characters make up a magic act. Magic is the central theme throughout this book: Ronnie the emotionally crippled magician is saved by magic in his early life as an evacuee: Evie his female assistant is drawn into the act and becomes his partner in every sense, but then goes off with the charismatic Jack, the third character in the partnership.  The first half of the book is told in Ronnie’s voice, the second half in Evie’s. It is cleverly written, but sometimes confusing, because, of course, that’s magic.

Magic and reality go hand in hand. People and things appear and disappear. Rings become symbolic. Is life an illusion? Is magic the reality? The fate of the magician perfectly embodies this. Is it magic? Has he been saved again by magic? Or…? We are left longing to know what really happened.

We enjoyed the stream of consciousness, dreamlike quality of the writing, we cared about these characters. The book was a quick read. What more could you ask?