Staff Picks

Good Things Do Come in Small Packages

Graham Swift’s 2016 novel Mothering Sunday: A Romance affirms the above saying. The 177-page book packs an emotional punch as it details the sexual and intellectual awakening of 22-year-old housemaid Jane Fairchild. The book opens with her latest tryst with a young wealthy heir who lives in a nearby English estate. After their meeting, which is captured with a perfect dollop of eroticism, he drives off to meet his finance, and both sets of their parents to toast the impending nuptials. But that 1924 rendezvous takes a fateful turn, as does the novel, as we see this is not just the tale of an illicit relationship. The author spins a beautifully told story of Jane’s evolution from orphan-turned- housemaid to writer. The author details in fine language how Jane views the world, how she crafts her fiction, how she handles quiet longing, and how she ultimately views her own marriage and relationships through the years. A gem. -- Suggested by Rosemary Mirsky, staff librarian.
If you want to explore other powerful, compact novels, try these books in the library’s collection:

  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
  • The Lover by Marguerite Duras
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • A Long and Happy Life by Reynolds Price
  • Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
  • Montana 1948 by Larry Watson
  • We the Animals by Justin Torres
  • Tree of Dreams by Denis Johnson
  • Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill