Paperback: Picador £7.99 (354pp)

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The Independent Culture

Magic realism got damp, boggy and English in Swift's 1983 masterpiece – a wonderfully rich novel that, as this 25th anniversary edition shows, has weathered the passing years. Set in the misty, mysterious Fens, a dream of a landscape and a meditation on history, it follows the fortunes of a clan, a place and even a nation from the Second World War to the Armageddon fears of the 1980s. Swift traces the dark spell of his "fairy-tale place" through winding streams of memory, fact and fancy.