In May 2020 Graham Swift’s short story “The Next Best Thing” was published in the


. Set in Germany in 1959, the year part of the action of Swift’s most recent novel

Here We Are

(2020) also takes place, the 5800-word story focuses on the encounter between two strangers: a German public servant, Herr Büchner, and a soldier of the British Army, Private Caan. The soldier, who is “currently residing with the British Army of the Rhine”, is looking for news of his Jewish relatives who lived in Germany before the second World War.

In his early forties Amtsleiter Hans Büchner, who “had been a soldier himself”, works as supervisor of the Records department at the Rathaus, the town hall of an unnamed German town; he is “more than twice” the age of nineteen-year-old

1182 words

Citation: Logotheti, Anastasia. "The Next Best Thing". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 September 2021 [, accessed 16 July 2024.]

40582 The Next Best Thing 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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