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Graham Swift has boldly reworked the country house novel

The maid's romantic adventures are the centre of the action

By Frances Wilson   May 2016

©Christies Images/Bridgeman Images

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift (Simon & Schuster, £12.99 

Misselthwaite Manor, Howards End, Blandings, Brideshead, Bly—no homes are more revisited than those we find in books. From Ben Jonson’s poem “To Penshurst” (1616), his celebration of the Sidney family’s ancestral pile, to Alan Hollinghurst’s “Two Acres,” the seat of the Sawles in his novel The Stranger’s Child (2011), the country house forms the bricks and mortar of the English canon.

A house in the country is not the same thing as a country…

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