They Came Like Swallows

They Came Like Swallows

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by William Maxwell
     
 

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     To eight-year old Bunny Morison, his mother is an angelic comforter in whose absence nothing is real or alive.  To his older brother, Robert, his mother is someone he must protect, especially since the deadly, influenza epidemic of 1918 is ravaging their small Midwestern town.  To James Morison, his wife, Elizabeth, is the

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Overview

     To eight-year old Bunny Morison, his mother is an angelic comforter in whose absence nothing is real or alive.  To his older brother, Robert, his mother is someone he must protect, especially since the deadly, influenza epidemic of 1918 is ravaging their small Midwestern town.  To James Morison, his wife, Elizabeth, is the center of a life that would disintegrate all too suddenly were she to disappear. 
   Through the eyes of these characters, William Maxwell creates a sensitive portrait of an American family and of the complex woman who is its emotional pillar.  Beautifully observed, deftly rendering the civilities and constraints of a vanished era, They Came Like Swallows measures the subterranean currents of love and need that run through all our lives.  The result confirms Maxwell's reputation as one of the finest writers we have.




From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A story of such engaging warmth that it would thaw the heart of any critic... will melt many a reader to tears."- Times

"A heart-warming tale, the book bears witness to William Maxwell's genuine artistry."- Christian Science Monitor

"Rare...exquisite...a cameo-like perfection."- The New York Herald Tribune

"A sensitive, wistful reminiscence... very delightful."- V.S. Pritchett

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307491824
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/23/2009
Series:
Vintage International
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
286,371
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

Howard Moss
By the time this second novel, They Came like Swallows, appeared in 1937, it is clear that William Maxwell is a special and wonderful gift to American fiction. It may be the definitive American novel about a child's relationship with his mother -- a subject so obvious and crucial, that it is rarely handled....The least flashy of writers, the writer's writer [Maxwell] is controlled and reserved, and yet magical at the same time. He is a master of fiction.
V. S. Pritchett
A sensitive, wistful reminiscence…very delightful.

Meet the Author

   William Maxwell was born in 1908, in Lincoln, Illinois. When he was fourteen his family moved to Chicago and he continues his education there and at the University of Illinois.  After a year of graduate work at Harvard he went back to Urbana and taught freshman composition, and then turned to writing.  He has published six novels, three collections of literary essays and reviews, and a book for children.  For forty years he was a fiction editor at The New Yorker. From 1969 to 1972 he was president of the National Institute of Arts and Letters,  He received the Brandeis Creative Arts Award Medal and, for So Long, See You Tomorrow,  the American Book Award and the Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He died in 2000.




From the Trade Paperback edition.

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They Came Like Swallows 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book tells the story of a family at the time of the influenza plague during the early 20th century. Told from the viewpoints of each of the two children and their father, it recounts their lives and the pivotal role of the woman who has influenced each of them. Once you start, you won't want to put it down.