Out of This World

In 1972 Robert Beech, WWI survivor and present day armaments maker, is killed by a car bomb The event breaks the career of his son Harry, a news photographer, and comes close to destroying his granddaughter Sophie Ten years later, the Falklands War has begun and both Harry and Sophie are haunted by a past that has scarred and divided them.
Out of This World In Robert Beech WWI survivor and present day armaments maker is killed by a car bomb The event breaks the career of his son Harry a news photographer and comes close to destroying his grandda

  • Title: Out of This World
  • Author: Graham Swift
  • ISBN: 9780330353700
  • Page: 380
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Out of This World”

    1. Tricky giving this a rating. I decided on a harsh three stars rather than a generous four. The writing itself is sublime but I struggled at times with making sense of the way the narrative unfolds. This may be mostly my fault. Like in life I am a lazy reader.

    2. I normally like Graham Swift. I loved Last Orders and Waterland.I just didn't like this at all. Sophie was such a dreadful character and I felt I wasn't quite getting the author's point. It won't put me off Swift, but this is far from his best.

    3. A horrific tragedy permeates the whole story, somehow even the lives of the main characters prior to this event. Harry and his estranged daughter Sophie take turns in telling their version in alternating short chapters. This works fine. Sophie, in particular, suffers from what we gather is second hand ptsd, but is she using this an excuse? Time will tell.Late on there is one chapter from Joe, Sophie's husband. This is definitely worth waiting for, like a brilliant short story in itself. In it he [...]

    4. This book is beautifully written, anxious and full of impactful and thought-provoking philosophies on 20th century warfare, particularly concerning the ways that war is recorded and remembered. I love the way Swift approaches the concept of photography. I wonder if he read Walter Benjamin’s philosophies concerning the photograph’s relationship with history and memory, as they seem to follow a similar line of thought. Here’s a great quote near the end of the novel:“I used to believe once [...]

    5. “I used to believe once that ours was the age in which we would say farewell to myths and legends, when they would fall off as useless plumage and we would see ourselves clearly only as what we are. I thought the camera was the key to this process. But I think the world cannot bear to be only what it is. The world always wants another world, a shadow, an echo, a model of itself.”

    6. I have a feels my I must have missed lots of underlying meaning - supposedly profound novel showing connections between 3 generations but it didn’t really engage in the way Waterlands or Last Orders did

    7. Swift, Graham. OUT OF THIS WORLD. (1988). ****. It’s my belief that this author is one of the finest to come out of England for a long time. This novel, unfortunantely, followed his Booker Prize-winning novel, "Waterworld", which was a tough act to follow. Even so, this novel carries on with many of Swift’s familiar themes. There are two major characters: Harry Beech, a photojournalist, who has been a bystander to every major human conflict from WW II on. Harry’s entire career is in reacti [...]

    8. I enjoyed the depth of characters in this book and insights. All of them damaged and pensive, trying to work out where it all went wrong and how it could have been different. Narrated in the first person by predominantly two characters, Harry and Sophie. The book spans generations of the same family, from the Robert Beech (war hero and ammunitions factory owner) to his son Harry (war photographer) and then Harry's daughter, Sophie, who lives in the USA with her two twin boys aged 10. Each charac [...]

    9. I bought this book for an English class I took that focused on literature about photography. We never got around to reading it for the class, but I recently picked it up to pass some time. It's okay- I've continued reading it not because it's particularly compelling (although it does have a few interesting insights about familial relationships, and the writing isn't bad) but because I need something to do and think about that has nothing to do with my life. I'm basically reading it for the same [...]

    10. Does not come to the standards of "Last Orders". It adopts the same adventurous structure (different characters' mumbles and perspectives are pieced together to a final revelation), and yet it does not cut it regardless of the seemingly rich symbolism and the potentially dynamic father-and-daughter drama.

    11. Read this after quite a long break from reading Swift. I enjoyed it and it reminded me of how well he is able to depict the interior world of his characters. Alongside this is the unique style he has, circling around the main issue, slowly drawing out more and more angles and nuances.

    12. I was on the fence for the first half of this book and would probably only give it 2 stars because I couldn't stand the sections of the book from 'Sophie's' point of view. I did find the latter half more engaging though as the characters musings became less self involved and more reflective.

    13. This is a story of three generations, of gulfs and of loss. Conflict (war, terrorism, family) is another of its themes. As is, photography, which is used for meditations about how we see things. However, although what it describes is poignant (heart-breaking, even), I never really felt it.

    14. I didn't love it. Have taste and style shifted so fast in just 30 years? This 1980s novel feels unnecessarily withholding. Too much retrospective explaining. Clever but cold.

    15. I thought the author overlooked developing reader interest in the main character Harry by introducing the weak, unresolved daughter Sophie.

    16. An interesting novel about strained family relationships presented as a series of voices talking. Not bad but not as good as his previous work 'Waterland'.

    17. A conflict between father and daughter is explained through reviews of their shared history which includes the murder of the father's father by the IRA. It was a page turner for me.

    18. Each time I picked up it up to read I would lose myself in the characters. I will definitely read more books by Graham Swift.

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