The Sweet Shop Owner

The Sweet Shop Owner In the sweet shop Willy Chapman was free absolved from all responsibility and he ran his sweet shop like his life quietly steadfastly devotedly It was a bargain struck between Chapman and his beau

  • Title: The Sweet Shop Owner
  • Author: Graham Swift
  • ISBN: 9780330353724
  • Page: 234
  • Format: Paperback
  • In the sweet shop Willy Chapman was free, absolved from all responsibility, and he ran his sweet shop like his life quietly, steadfastly, devotedly It was a bargain struck between Chapman and his beautiful, emotionally injured wife a bargain based on unexpressed, inexpressible love and on a courageous acceptance of life s deprivation.

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    About "Graham Swift"

    1. Graham Swift

      Graham Colin Swift FRSL born May 4, 1949 is a British author He was born in London, England and educated at Dulwich College, London, Queens College, Cambridge, and later the University of York He was a friend of Ted Hughes.Some of his works have been made into films, including Last Orders, which starred Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins and Waterland which starred Jeremy Irons Last Orders was a joint winner of the 1996 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and a mildly controversial winner of the Booker Prize in 1996, owing to the superficial similarities in plot to William Faulkner s As I Lay Dying Waterland was set in The Fens it is a novel of landscape, history and family, and is often cited as one of the outstanding post war British novels and has been a set text on the English Literature syllabus in British schools.


    1. "αργά ή γρήγορα έρχεται η τελευταία φορά"Ο Γουίλι Τσάπμαν, ο καταστηματάρχης ή καλύτερα ο ψιλικατζής, είναι ένας 60άρης με καρδιακά προβλήματα. Η γυναίκα του (Αϊρήν) έχει πεθάνει κ η διανοούμενη κόρη του (Ντόροθυ) έχει αποξενωθεί από αυτόν επειδή φαίνεται πως τον κατηγορεί ότ [...]

    2. The Sweet Shop Owner is the first book in my month of birthday reading. Graham Swifts birthday is May 4th, ooh that’s today – spooky. I have read two other Graham Swift novels although quite some time ago, I am now reminded what an excellent writer he is.It is June 1974 and on the last day of Willy Chapman’s life, he gets up re-reads a letter from his daughter and goes to work at his sweet shop, the shop he has run for over thirty years. Through a series of flashbacks we see Willy’s life [...]

    3. As others have said, The Sweet Shop Owner doesn't quite match up to Waterland. But this is Swift's first book, and it set a precedent for his later work. Some of the themes, especially that of history (in the academic and personal senses) shine through, and it's interesting to see how he enlarged upon them later.Whatever I say about the story will sound trite. It's about a man married to a much wealthier woman, the disease she refuses to treat, and their daughter, who feels repulsed by both of h [...]

    4. pub 1980spring 2013hardbackpaper> one penny wonderunder 500 ratingsfictiondebut novelFor CandiceOpening: 'In the end.' 'In the end'? What did she mean - in the end he would see?5* Waterland4* Last Orders5* Ever After3* The Sweet Shop Owner

    5. We listened to this as an audio book and were very engaged by it. Chatted about it for a good while after. Recommend it if you enjoy this author's writing, characterisation. Very well read on the cd version

    6. I much preferred this book to Swift's other works: I found it more sensitive and more closely observed.There are enough other reviews to make it unnecessary to outline the plot. But it is worth noting that this book is about the unspoken promises we make to each other, the contracts we make with ourselves, and the acts we put on to make ourselves safe.In terms of writing style, I found the text gentle, and was not at all jolted by the switches between present and past, nor by the flips between f [...]

    7. Every Graham Swift novel I read makes me love his writing even more - and makes me less tolerant of mediocre writing. What a beautiful, seemingly simple story of one day in the life of a "simple" man. An important day. And a man who is not as simple as he might appear. We get the backstory of his life, the complex story of his wife (who has already died before this day) and the broader story of the impact of the Wars on London. Even "side" characters like Mrs. Cooper, who has worked tirelessly a [...]

    8. It is the first book that I read by Graham Swift and at the same time his first attempt of writing such an emotional story. The destroyed family and the problems that they deal with are strongly resonated throughout all the book. Each one, being in a different situation and level of status, follow their lives from a different perspective. The relationship of these emotions isn't quite clear at some points, but this fact didn't stop me from wanting to read another book of this author!

    9. I admire this deceptively simple novel. Told almost entirely from the sweet-shop owner's mild point of view, with occasional interruptions from three women: his wife--so that we learn something about her past that he has never known; and his shop assistants. The language is restrained, descriptive, evocative, and the attitudes thoroughly English at all times. I'll be looking for other works by the author, who won the Booker Prize for "Last Orders". So glad I stumbled upon this gem.

    10. The Sweet Shop Owner tells the story of the last day in the life of Willy Chapman. On this day, which has all the outward appearances of any other day, Willy must come to terms with his employees, his rebellious daughter, and his frigid but beautiful wife.The book is told in the first person and starts in the early morning following the day's events. While the day happens in chronological order, the tale is frequently interrupted by flashbacks and remembrances of a difficult past. At several poi [...]

    11. Read this while waiting for Mothering Sunday to become available. Can't say it's a hugely appealing book. A bit like Remains of the Day in that Willy Chapman lives life to fulfil his duty and in the end you feel it is almost a life wasted. Chosen by his wealthier, attractive wife to annoy her parents because she was expected to marry up and didn't, he seems to live his life to try to please her. How an ill chosen partnership, even though seemingly made the best off, can destroy the happiness of [...]

    12. This is a study in acceptance and avoidance. The well-off young wife accepts her fate and marries someone who won’t push her too far following her rape at the hands of the man her family intended for her, someone from their station who was on his way up. The eager young husband accepts his fate as a spouse to be partially ignored, given a sweet shop to keep him busy even when they don’t necessarily need the money. And the daughter that results from their marriage grows up knowing that her mo [...]

    13. The Sweet Shop Owner is Willy, a simple man with little ambition and little prospects until he meets Irene. Irene has an aura and inner strength that Willy will never have and guides him on a path that is focussed on running an effective sweet shop. There's a mystery and uncertainty behind the reasons why Irene 'chose' Willy and where the capital for the shop comes from especially amongst Irene's family and daughter.There's a silent dedication and duty on Willy's part to succeed and return Irene [...]

    14. This is a well written book - the prose is well crafted, almost poetic at times, and the structure carefully thought out. But it failed to really grab me because it never really explains why the characters behave the way they do, except in a superficial way. (view spoiler)[Willy apparently falls in love with Irene because a) she is beautiful, and b) she tells him to play on a children's slide. She apparently doesn't love him back but marries him as an act of revenge against her family. Their dau [...]

    15. High 3. Swift has encapsulated the routine minutiae of twenty-four hours in the life of a shopowner while contrasting such mundanity with the slowly emerging tension that this will be the final day of Willie Chapman;s life. Not only has his life been confined to the same suburb of the capital, but he has been confined to an existence which exemplifies duty and to a marriage of accomodation. Havingrescued his heart's desire from emotional turmoil, her middle-class background provides the funds to [...]

    16. I'm not minded to write a lengthy review of this novel - I note that this has been ably done by other reviewers. Suffice to say that as a first novel this is quite outstanding. The quality of Swift's prose is lyrical. He explores some of the enduring themes: predominantly the nature of love and loyalty, and whilst the word 'enjoy' seems misplaced in the context of such a sad tale I defy any lover of literature not to wallow in the sheer quality of Swift's writing. You can also feel safe in the k [...]

    17. You know those books that start of so-and-so, but if you power through the first few chapters, they get better and you get sucked into them and your effort pays off? This book is not one of those books. The title seemed so promising to me, and the synopsis was okay, but I honestly regret finishing the whole thing, because the book never delivered. I can only say that it's a good thing it was only ~200 pages. :-/

    18. As most reviews will point out, this isn't as impressive as Waterland. It is a well told story nonetheless, and the themes that Swift goes on to develop in subsequent books are here in his first novel. Swift's work is never exactly a bundle of laughs, but why should it be? There are few writers who engage with ordinary human life with such skill.

    19. A quiet and moving book, much of the painful sadness and understated poetry of this story is due to it being about an uneventful, ordinary life. The Sweet Shop Owner is a book about loneliness, love, aging and dying - issues that affect everyone, and are the mundane tragedies of the real and everyday that embody much of what it means to be human.

    20. Perhaps I thought less of this book because I read Graham Swift's amazing _Waterland_ first--which isn't fair criticism! This is Swift's first novel, and although it's not as polished as _Waterland_, you can see him developing the themes that intrigue him: lost communication between parents and children, the intricacies of marriage, and of course History.

    21. I really enjoyed this book. Everything about it really. The dryness of it, the way it spanned so many years, so briefly yet so thoroughly. So much unrequited love, everywhere you looked.I very much like the style of writing and I look forward to reading the other Graham Swift novels I have sat perched on Mt TBR.

    22. Small beer next to Waterland, and occasionally baffling. Best parts involve Sandra, the slatternly teenaged assistant at the Sweet Shop, and the doomed Mrs Cooper, who sees her as a love rival. Swift jumps into their minds with complete conviction.

    23. Swift doesn't write about sweetness, and this book is no exception. The sweet shop with all it's colorful little delights, is the perfect foil for all the bitterness in the characters' lives. It's a beautifully written, and terribly sad book.

    24. I first read this book in 1986, and it was good to re-discover it. This was Graham Swift's first novel and it is a well-constructed, very readable novel about family relationships, with a fascinating background of Post War Britain. Good stuff!

    25. Sad little book. One of those 'quiet desparation' types. Blurb said author was like James Joyce, but I think Swift loved his characters a tad more than Joyce in Dubliners. Can't give it more than 3 as it didn't make me cry, although Swift is a very skilful and observant writer.

    26. I was left wanting more from this book & felt that it only scratched the surface with both the characters & the story, possibly this was because it was his first book.

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