They Came Like Swallows

They Came Like Swallows

by William Maxwell


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679772576
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/28/1997
Series: Vintage International Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 513,676
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About 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.

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.

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They Came Like Swallows 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
bobbieharv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The trouble with William Maxwell is that his writing ruins you for all other books. It is perfect, like a jewel. A piercing story circling around the central character of Elizabeth, the mother of a family, and how each member reacts to her death from the 1918 spanish flu.
TimBazzett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Words fail me when it comes to describing this exquisitely rendered little novel first published over seventy years ago. Two boys, eight and thirteen, lose a mother; a husband a wife, sisters a sister. This is perhaps the most delicately described story of pain, loss and relationships I have encountered in many years. The sense of time and place, of a small town in Illinois in 1918, the year of the horrific Spanish influenza epidemic, is so real you can lose yourself as if the ensuing seventy-plus years had never happened. Like Maxwell's other book I have reviewed here, The Folded Leaf, this book - They Came Like Swallows - is simply beautiful. A masterpiece.
melopher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rarely, if ever, have I read such an intimate and honest portrayal of a person's real self. It is normal, commonplace even, to read of people's actions and doings. It is fairly typical to read a story of a person as perceived through another persons eyes. I've often read a book that shows what a person thinks of themselves. But to hear the inner workings of ones self, the feelings and thoughts and reactions that happen without our permission or perhaps without even our conscious knowledge, and in such a matter of fact way, is moving. This is the part of a person that cries out to be loved and accepted--just as they are. This is the part of a person that is rather unexplainable. Yet William Maxwell has done it. Beautifully.
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.