Summary

"Graham Swift's first novel since the highly acclaimed Ever After is a subtle yet deeply felt exploration of the ways in which friendship and love are shaped by the past and by fate." "At its center is a group of men, friends since the Second World War, whose lives revolve around work, family, the racetrack, and their favorite pub. Now, the death of one of them, and the survivors' task of driving their friend's ashes from London to the seaside town where they'll be scattered, compels them to take stock. Through conversation and memory they trace the paths they have followed by choice and by accident: through war and its aftermath, through the dramas of their family lives and of their shifting relationships with one another." "In brilliantly realized, richly humorous voices, Swift has created a narrative language that perfectly expresses not only the comforts of old habits and friendships but the profound emotional revelations this brief but far-reaching journey will bring them."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Four men gather in a London pub. They have taken it upon themselves to carry out the last orders of Jack Dodds, master butcher, and deliver his ashes to the sea. As they drive towards the fulfillment of their mission, their errand becomes an extraordinary journey into their collective and individual pasts. Braiding these men's voices, and that of Jack's widow, into a choir of sorrow and resentment, passion and regret, Swift creates a testament to a changing England and to enduring mortality.
Swift has involved us in real, lived lives...Quietly, but with conviction, he seeks to affirm the values of decency, loyalty, love.--New York Review of Books
A beautiful book...a novel that speaks profoundly of human need and tenderness. Even the most cynical will be warmed by it.--San Francisco Chronicle