David Reynolds

Swan River

In Search of a Lost Grandfather.

Swan River
Picador paperback
Picador hardback


Review quotes

‘David Reynolds’s memoir Swan River stood head and shoulders above every other book this year. … a beautiful meditation on the nature of families, on the way that feelings are passed on almost imperceptibly from generation to generation.  The material is crafted and shaped with the artistry that we would expect from our best fiction writers.  An enthralling story, flawlessly told …  A book for all of us – mysterious, consoling and deeply pleasurable to read.’ JONATHAN COE — Independent (Books of the Year)

‘An exquisite work of memory … in turns funny, sad and moving; it’s a book that will stay with the reader long after the final page.  Swan River is a lovingly crafted story about love, truth and searching, and David Reynolds is a writer of calm, quiet brilliance.’JEREMY POOLMAN — Daily Express

‘Entertaining and readable … written with great warmth and shrewdness … The sense of personal satisfaction, of some kind of closure being achieved, is strongly conveyed.  It is a mark of Reynolds’s skill that the reader shares it.’  D.J.TAYLOR — Times Literary Supplement

‘A gripping journey that has the all-important ring of truth… takes an inexorable hold on the reader … a remarkable piece of social history and a stunning reconstruction of family life down three generations … strangely moving and elegiac … through his clarity and mastery of detail, Reynolds has taken us with him every step of the way.’  TIM LOTT — Daily Mail

‘The unflashy prose and downbeat candour are disarming … His family’s story matters to him.  Stubbornly, against the odds, he makes it matter to us, too.’ BLAKE MORRISON — Guardian

‘Told in an unsensational and deft manner, all the more effective for its lack of stridency, and for its inclusion of quotidian detail …  Out of his bedroom, into the wider world, and back into the past, gently, Reynolds leads the reader on, immersing you in his antecedents’ world and his own memories until you begin to think they are yours too.  Such inclusiveness is surely the mark of a good writer.’  PHILIP HOARE — Independent

‘The story he pieces together is one of ill-fated love in Victorian London and that period is evoked with a striking clarity, as is the 1960s counter-culture scene which Reynolds inhabited while he pursued his family’s past …  The prose is sometimes startlingly good …  a moving account of the way every generation hands down pain and joy to the next.’  DAVID MATTIN — Observer

‘Evocative family memoir, in which the stories of three generations intersect until the mystery is resolved.’  FANNY BLAKE — Woman and Home (Book of the Month)

‘Beautifully written family memoir …’ — Real Magazine

‘A remarkable portrayal of the love between father and son … a fabulous, moving book.’  WILL SELF

‘A beautiful book …  A loving, wise book.’  ANNE MICHAELS

 ‘Immensely likeable … readable, engaging, wholly appealing.’ — Toronto Globe and Mail

‘A profoundly moving story about fathers and sons.’ — Vancouver Sun

‘It is difficult to guess whether Reynolds’s memoir has given him the gift of connectedness, or has simply illuminated it, but that sense of being in place is tangible …’ GABY NAHER — Sydney Morning Herald