Neil's Reviews > Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift
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's review
May 30, 12

Read from May 20 to 30, 2012

Spoiler alert: Man and his wife experience a strain in their relationship after his brother is killed in Iraq. If you read that and thought, "So what's the surprise?" then you've had a micro version of my experience reading _Wish You Were Here_. Every chapter in the early going makes clear that there are Big Secrets that will be revealed but none of them seem that profound. The lives of these characters are interesting, but Swift's emphasis on the secret-and-reveal structure feels unnecessary and forced.

When I read Julian Barnes' _The Sense of an Ending_, I complained that the mystery around memories felt unnecessary and I stated that I'd rather read something by Swift, who has done revelatory memories so brilliantly in _Waterland_ and _Last Orders_. But this was an even bigger disappointment than _The Sense of an Ending_.

The ending of _Wish You Were Here_ is quite suspenseful because I did come to care for the characters and rooted for them to overcome their difficulties. But I wouldn't recommend spending your time to get to that ending.

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