Graham Swift: Waterland (7682 words)


Graham Swift’s third novel, Waterland (1983), is a sensational tale of murder, incest and suicide set in the desolate Cambridgeshire Fens of East Anglia. Swift incorporates in the novel the area’s well-documented past, legendary and historical, as well as the engineering feats, begun in the seventeenth century, which produced land out of water. The narrator, Tom Crick, and his wife, Mary Metcalf, come of age in a landscape where land must constantly be reclaimed, a setting “embodying”, as Swift notes, “a process of history” (Craps “Interview” 640). Thus, the setting becomes, in Swift’s words, a “landscape of the mind” (Bernard and Menegaldo 10), a symbol of p…

Citation: Logotheti, Anastasia. "Waterland". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 August 2004; last revised 28 May 2019. [, accessed 15 April 2021.]

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