Graham Swift: The Sweet Shop Owner

(2536 words)

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, b…

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Logotheti, Anastasia. "The Sweet Shop Owner". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 August 2004
[, accessed 10 October 2015.]