They Came Like Swallows

They Came Like Swallows

Book - 1997
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First published in 1937, They Came Like Swallows was William Maxwell's second novel. It tells of an ordinary American family overtaken by the devastating epidemic of the Spanish influenza of 1918. The book begins on the day before the armistice in a small midwestern town, and the events are seen from the perspective, in turn, of eight-year-old Peter Morison--called Bunny; of his older brother, Robert; and of their father. They are witnesses to a domestic tragedy that is written with beauty and a quite magnificent tenderness. William Maxwell has been described by The Washington Post as "one of America's most distinguished and distinctive stylists." John Updike has said that "Maxwell's voice is one of the wisest in American fiction; it is, as well, one of the kindest." The Times Literary Supplement declares that "Maxwell offers us scrupulously executed, moving landscapes of America's twentieth century, and they do not fade." The Saturday Review said,"They Came Like Swallows is one of those rare tales in which child-hood is reflected in the simplicity and intensity of its own experience." The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with afford- able hardbound editions of impor- tant works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy- fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torch- bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau- gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.
Publisher: New York : Modern Library, 1997
Edition: 1997 Modern Library ed
ISBN: 9780679602477
Branch Call Number: FICTION Maxwell
Characteristics: xix, 191 p. ; 19 cm


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Jan 20, 2016

My parents and grandparents told no stories about their past. So when I read lovely books like these that share the author's life, I get a feeling for the ages in which my parents, great grandparents, and grandparents grew up. A lovely look at days gone by.

Jan 02, 2016

This is the second Maxwell book I've read, and he makes you think. This is a fictional book, but based on his early life, and the death of his mother during a flu epidemic. Although written in the third person, the story looks from three different perspectives during the course of the tale. Maxwell, who was the editor of the New Yorker, uses language to convey tone and the emotion of the story.
Maxwell was a close friend of Maeve Brennan, and I ended up requesting this book after I spent some time reading Brennan.

Apr 19, 2012

A little predictable, but still excellent. Though the large size of the print annoyed me a bit.


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