Don't miss this sexy, subversive fable
Mothering Sunday opens with “Once upon a time,” but this luminous novella is less a fairy tale than a vivid recreation of a specific place and time now lost. It’s about an intense sexual relationship, now ended. It recounts a way of living that’s died away. And it tells the story of a young woman about to become a completely different person.
In Mothering Sunday, the expected roles are subverted. It’s 1926 England, but the young servant girl is in control and her passionate affair with an upper class lover is a less an awakening than preparation for the day that her life changes forever. We’re voyeurs on this day, one last secret tryst, everything lazy and languid, hidden from the rest of the world.
Author Graham Swift is a Booker Prize winner, and this story delivers much more than sex—although there’s plenty of it, described in vivid detail. His novel is a Cinderella fable that lets the princess decide her own fate.
Mothering Sunday was one of the best-reviewed books of 2016 and has just been made available in paperback.