The Sweet-Shop Owner (1980), Graham Swift's well-received first novel, focuses on Willy Chapman, the sixty-one year old owner of two profitable small shops in an unnamed South London suburb. Hour by hour, the novel follows the protagonist during a day in his life: a Friday in June 1974, which is also his daughter's twenty-fifth birthday. As in all of Swift's novels, The Sweet-Shop Owner is concerned with the relationship between the individual and the forces of history within a society plagued by alienation in a fast-changing world, and the novel laments the loss of familial and communal bonds in post-World-War-II Britain. In terms of structure and technique this novel borrows equally from realism and modernism, blending third-person omniscient, character-driven narrative with fragments…

3161 words

Citation: Logotheti, Anastasia. "The Sweet Shop Owner". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 August 2004; last revised 04 October 2018. [, accessed 10 December 2023.]

7870 The Sweet Shop Owner 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.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.