Piece for The Financial Times illustrating the book review of Graham Swift’s new short stories set in England.
I focused on a story about a disillusioned immigrant whilst trying to get a sense of the quiet everyday drama that pervades his stories. A loyal supporter of the British Empire fighting in the war service he finds himself working as a hospital porter in London. It reminds me of a poem I read on the London Underground, Bam Chi Chi La La by Lorna Goodison, about a Jamaican working as a teacher in Jamaica, and a cleaner in London’s West End. Both explore the kind of roles we can play under different circumstances, and growing up hearing my parent’s stories about the turmoil they endured during the Cultural Revolution, being tossed into roles beyond their control and eventually making a new life in London, I really enjoyed responding to this article and trying to capture the kind of characters that make England what it is today.
A link to the article found here and some of the other ideas I came up with below.