They Came Like Swallows

They Came Like Swallows First published in They Came Like Swallows was WilliamMaxwell s second novel It tells of an ordinary American familyovertaken by the devastating epidemic of the Spanish influenza of The book

First published in 1937, They Came Like Swallows was WilliamMaxwell s second novel It tells of an ordinary American familyovertaken by the devastating epidemic of the Spanish influenza of1918 The book begins on the day before the armistice in a smallmidwestern town, and the events are seen from the perspective, inturn, of eight year old Peter Morison called Bunny of hiFirst published in 1937, They Came Like Swallows was WilliamMaxwell s second novel It tells of an ordinary American familyovertaken by the devastating epidemic of the Spanish influenza of1918 The book begins on the day before the armistice in a smallmidwestern town, and the events are seen from the perspective, inturn, of eight year old Peter Morison called Bunny of his olderbrother, Robert and of their father They are witnesses to adomestic tragedy that is written with beauty and a quite magnificenttenderness.William Maxwell has been described by The Washington Postas one of America s most distinguished and distinctive stylists John Updike has said that Maxwell s voice is one of the wisest inAmerican fiction it is, as well, one of the kindest The TimesLiterary Supplement declares that Maxwell offers us scrupulouslyexecuted, moving landscapes of America s twentieth century, and theydo not fade The Saturday Review said, They Came Like Swallows isone of those rare tales in which child hood is reflected in thesimplicity and intensity of its own experience.

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They Came Like Swallows

  1. William Keepers Maxwell Jr was an American novelist, and fiction editor at the New Yorker He studied at the University of Illinois and Harvard University Maxwell wrote six highly acclaimed novels, a number of short stories and essays, children s stories, and a memoir, Ancestors 1972 His award winning fiction, which is increasingly seen as some of the most important of the 20th Century, has recurring themes of childhood, family, loss and lives changed quietly and irreparably Much of his work is autobiographical, particularly concerning the loss of his mother when he was 10 years old growing up in the rural Midwest of America and the house where he lived at the time, which he referred to as the Wunderkammer or Chamber of Wonders He wrote of his loss It happened too suddenly, with no warning, and we none of us could believe it or bear it the beautiful, imaginative, protected world of my childhood swept away Since his death in 2000 several works of biography have appeared, including A William Maxwell Portrait Memories and Appreciations W W Norton Co 2004 , My Mentor A Young Man s Friendship with William Maxwell by Alec Wilkinson Houghton Mifflin, 2002 , and William Maxwell A Literary Life by Barbara Burkhardt University of Illinois Press, 2005 In 2008 the Library of America published the first of two collections of William Maxwell, Early Novels and Stories, Christopher Carduff editor His collected edition of William Maxwell s fiction, published to mark the writer s centenary, was completed by a second volume, Later Novels and Stories in the fall of 2008.

938 Reply to “They Came Like Swallows”

  1. I hadn t the least suspicion that this was the perfect book to read right after I d completed a long Virginia Woolf season but my reading life has a way of finding connections in spite of me Having finally finished with Woolf last week, I searched my book pile for something I thought would be completely different and this slim little book by William Maxwell caught my eye It s a book I d been meaning to read since last year when a friend recommended it, and other than remembering vaguely that it [...]

  2. I cannot believe that in a long lifetime of reading, this is the first book I ve read by William Maxwell SO my kind of book Basically the story of a family dealing with each other and themselves during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic Probably not for plot centric readers, but for those liking interior dialogue and growth of characters, this is a jewel.

  3. One British, one French, one German Three novels, one from each of those countries Three perspectives of the First World War The moment I read that I thought what a wonderful idea, circling the conflict, a century removed Real life reading friends were impressed when I suggested it as our group project for 2015 Oh, I could have, should have, credited Fionnuala, but to my reading chums that would have just been a lovely name They would have missed the inspiration, the Muse that she is.I was taske [...]

  4. Though not the masterpiece So Long, See You Tomorrow is, this much earlier work of Maxwell s contains many of the elements that seem to haunt much of his writing the effect of the 1918 flu epidemic on his family and their small Illinois community, and his relationships with his older brother and their father.The narrators are the three males of the family, but the mother is the center of their lives, and of this slim novel, too The story is passed down, like a reversed legacy, from 8 year old Bu [...]

  5. Bunny is eight years old in the late 1910 s, the war has ended and he and his family live in a small Midwestern town, Bunny is our narrator for the first part of this novel This is not really a coming of age novel, though it does include two young children The Spanish Flu is rearing its ugly head and causing devastation in many, many places, people are being told to stay home This is not a novel about the Spanish Flu either, though it does play a significant part of this story.This is the story [...]

  6. William Maxwell nasceu em 1908, numa cidade do estado do Illinois chamada Lincoln A sua m e, Eva, morreu durante a epidemia denominada Gripe Espanhola de 1918, quando o pequeno Bill tinha apenas 10 anos Vieram Como Andorinhas They Came Like Swallows, t tulo retirado de um poema de Yeats foi publicado em 1937 e uma hist ria inspirada nesses eventos Passa se igualmente no Illinois de 1918, ano que, para al m da dizimadora epidemia, foi marcado ainda pelo fim da Primeira Guerra Mundial.Comecei o an [...]

  7. This is an extremely dreary and subtle novel that touched upon though didn t quite fully develop the loss a child feels when he loses his mother, and the emptiness one feels when a spouse dies.Brothers, aged 8 and 13, struggle to connect with each other and to relate to the world around them, and it s all in that unspoken, time gone by way of boys and toy soldiers and farms and summers They both have that deep seated craving for mother s love, and both feel the sting of favoritism and jealousy I [...]

  8. Revi me na inf ncia, e reconheci todas as birras que fiz e o porqu de alguns comportamentos que tive.Constatei que, talvez em determinadas ocasi es, n o tenha dado o devido valor a algumas pirra as dos meus filhos.Como m e, senti com um misto de dor e ternura, porque que temos de ser a cola que une todas as pontas.Um livro sem est ria mirabolante, sem personagens recambolescas, mas que um espelho, um reflexo de cada um de n s desde as pequenas dores de crescimento at s s bias provas de vida que [...]

  9. What a beautiful and bittersweet novella this is It s the story of an Illinois family who suffers through the 1918 flu epidemic The first chapter is told from the viewpoint of the 8 year old son, Bunny, who is an imaginative and anxious little boy He desperately loves his mother and is afraid of his stern father Bunny looks up to his older brother, Robert, who is mean and rarely condescends to play with him The second chapter is from the perspective of 13 year old Robert, who is a rambunctious b [...]

  10. I love William Maxwell s writing Simple, direct evocative He is able to conjure up vivid pictures with the sparsest of sentences This little book is beautiful and compulsive reading I got through it in just over 2 hours , despite its tragic subject matter Set at the time of the Spanish Flu outbreak it focuses on the Morison family and how they are directly affected by it Maxwell seems to have a wonderful understanding of how children think he reminds me of Esther Freud in that respect His charac [...]

  11. 4.5 With this being my first exposure to William Maxwell, I was expecting something highly emotional and well written Getting through the first three quarters of this book, I had yet to see anything of true emotion, but once I saw it, it was seen and I couldn t get enough of it I don t think I ve read a book that has went from a 2 3 star to a 4 5 star so quickly within just a few pages, much less a couple paragraphs Despair is Maxwell s niche and it worked for me Of all his writings, I m glad I [...]

  12. lhas e folhas de papel escritas, riscadas, rasgadas e amachucadase nada para partilharporque n o h palavras que descrevam a Perfei oVieram como andorinhas e como andorinhas se foram,E, por m, a for a de uma mulherP de manter uma andorinha na sua rota.E meia d zia em forma o,Como o rodopio de uma agulha de b ssola,Encontrou certeza no ar sonhador W B Yeats

  13. Muito bem escrito e sentimentos que nos s o t o familiares fazem deste um livro perfeito A simplicidade com que o autor retrata esta fam lia assustadoramente pr xima de qualquer um de n s Muito bom

  14. Agrada me muito chegar a livros inesperadamente Este veio parar me s m os depois de ter trope ado nele numa divis o da minha casa Por aqui, como que por magia, os livros brotam como cogumelos Aben oado trope o Existem muitos livros bons Os livros perfeitos s o rar ssimos, este um deles.

  15. Marvelous family study of a place, time and a crucible of change You are cored here within the eyes of the youngest, the oldest son, the father Love for the mother and each other real life expressed within their own physical and cognitive realities And quite beyond the emotions or deeply affectionate loving care.The most appreciated feature of experience for me has been introduction to masterful authors of the past who I have somehow entirely missed William Maxwell is absolutely one It s not my [...]

  16. O romance Vieram Como as Andorinhas foi editado em 1937 pelo escritor norte americano William Maxwell 1908 2000.Um pequeno grande romance sobre a fam lia Morison, num retrato emocionante que decorre no final da Primeira Guerra Mundial e no per odo em que a Gripe Espanhola, se espalhou pela Am rica centrado numa pequena cidade no Illinois Vieram Como as Andorinhas est dividido em tr s livros Livro I Quem o meu anjo , sob o olhar inseguro e ansioso de Bunny, com oito anos de idade o Livro II Rober [...]

  17. This is a gorgeous book The writing feels effortless each word and every sentence is simple, yet the effect is a luxury of acute observation and depth of feeling Reading it was like walking into the warmth of beautifully loved parlor, full of polished furniture, a ticking clock, thick rugs, and a mother, hemming diapers, whose smile could heal all your wounds.The book is set in 1918 during the great flu pandemic, and involves the Morison family The first section is told from the point of view of [...]

  18. It has to be said from the beginning that this is not a dazzling or startling book It doesn t have any bangs But what it does have is the wisdom that comes from noticing the day to day activities of family life I read somewhere on an review, I think that Eileen Battersby, a critic, said that Maxwell had the gift of illuminating the unspoken but faintly understood I nod in agreement And add that he has the gift of distilling, shaping, and articulating thoughts that have passed inchoately through [...]

  19. 3.5 stars Our book club had an interesting discussion of the complex book, which at first glance we expected to be similar to our previous month s read Crow Lake , but which was really very different We talked about whether the age in which it was written and about which it was written was partly the cause, or whether it was the author s gender We found Crow Lake, written by a woman, engaging We thought Maxwell s own history of having lost his mother at a young age affected how closely he could [...]

  20. The story takes place in a midwestern Illinois town in 1918 and begins on the day before the armistice The Spanish Influenza is rampant, and the Morison family copes the best they can The story is told from the points of view of 8 year old Bunny, his older brother, Robert, and their father, James This is a very close loving family I won t say about the plot because I don t want to ruin it.The writing is so pure and perfect, the characters so well drawn The author took a fairly simple story and [...]

  21. Sobre afectos e as raz es que explicam determinados comportamentosH sempre raz es para as pessoas serem como s o Vieram como andorinhas e como andorinhas se foram,E, por m, a for a de uma mulherP de manter uma andorinha na sua rota.E meia d zia em forma o,Como o rodopio de uma agulha de b ssola,Encontrou certeza no ar sonhadorUma andorinha pode fazer a primavera

  22. A sensitive, tender and heart wrenching story of a wife and mother s love and care through the eyes of her two sons and husband Beautifully written Having just lost my father unexpectedly this book caused me to reflect on the rhythm of life and how much we need and depend on each other.

  23. I loved this book its impact is so much greater than its deceptively simple prose and brevity I thought the difference between the three voices was expertly done the young boy was quite different from the teenager who was different again from the father They all lived and live on in my mind and heart.I also loved the way that the house, its clocks and rugs and curtains and wallpapers were characters in their own right, particularly in Bunny s part as if they had the capacity to take on his moods [...]

  24. Maxwell s precise words and the words left out make a simultaneously powerful but regretful portrait of a woman through the view of her two sons and her husband Inspired by the loss of Maxwell s own mother, during the same Spanish Influenza as the novel, I expected something visceral, scorched with loss, but maybe that was too in line with modern emotional outpouring Maybe also tarnished by PBS Maxwell spoke of the loss of his mother in a PBS documentary on the 1918 flu and the fragile emotion [...]

  25. I wonder whether I could say too much about They Came like Swallows I think there is an inevitability to certain events that the reader expects from the very first page, in a sense I don t think there are any surprises or shocks If you happen to be reading this novella currently however, perhaps you better not read any further than this until you are finished.Illinois 1918 and Elizabeth Morison is an ordinary middle class wife and mother a wife and mother like so many others, but of course, like [...]

  26. I don t know about you, but I find that my favorite book by an author is often the first one I read by him or her I think So Long, See You Tomorrow will always be my favourite William Maxwell work but it is a book he wrote over forty years earlier, They Came Like Swallows, that many contend is his greatest work It is hard to argue The story revolves around an eight year old boy living in a small mid western farming community when the 1918 influenza epidemic hits, taking the lives of many includi [...]

  27. They came like swallows is the beginning of a poem by Yates which speaks to the importance of a loving mother, and it is the loss of this loving mother to influenza in 1918 which each of the characters in this book two sons and a husband will address This is based loosely on Maxwell s own life his mother also died in 1918 of influenza.

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