Making an Elephant
Writing from Within
By Graham Swift
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307270993, 416pp.)
Publication Date: June 23, 2009
List Price: $26.95*
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In his first-ever work of nonfiction, the Booker Prize–winning author of such acclaimed novels as Waterland and Last Orders gives us a highly personal book: a singular and open-spirited account of a writer’s life.
As generous in its scope as it is acute in its observations, Making an Elephant brings together a richly varied selection of essays, portraits, poetry and interviews, full of insights into Graham Swift’s passions and motivations, and wise about the friends, family and other writers who have mattered to him over the years. Kazuo Ishiguro advises on how to choose a guitar; Salman Rushdie arrives for Christmas under guard; Caryl Phillips shares a beer with the author at a nightclub in Toronto. There are private moments with his father and with his own younger self, as well as musings on history, memory and imagination that illuminate the work of a writer who, in his fiction, regards it as “a mark of achievement” when his own voice and presence vanish into his characters.
A journey through place and time, conversation, encounters and ideas, Making an Elephant brims with charm and candor, an alertness to experience and a true engagement with words—in short, with what it means to believe that writing and reading are an essential part of living.
Graham Swift lives in London and is the author of eight novels: The Sweet-Shop Owner; Shuttlecock, which received the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize; Waterland, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize and won The Guardian Fiction Award, the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize and the Italian Premio Grinzane Cavour; Out of This World; Ever After, which won the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger; Last Orders, which was awarded the Booker Prize; The Light of Day; and, most recently, Tomorrow. He is also the author of Learning to Swim, a collection of short stories. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages.