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Synopsis: First published in 1937, They Came Like Swallows was William Maxwell's second novel. It tells of an ordinary American family overtaken by the devastating epidemic of the Spanish influenza of 1918. The book begins on the day before the armistice in
a small midwestern town, and the events are seen from the perspective, in turn, of eight-year-old Peter Morison--called Bunny; of his older brother, Robert; and of their father. They are witnesses to a domestic tragedy that is written with beauty and a quite magnificent tenderness.
William Maxwell has been described by The Washington Post as "one of America's most distinguished and distinctive stylists." John Updike has said that "Maxwell's voice is one of the wisest in American fiction; it
is, as well, one of the kindest." The Times Literary Supplement declares
that "Maxwell offers us scrupulously executed, moving landscapes of America's twentieth century, and they do not fade." The Saturday Review said,"They Came Like Swallows is one of those rare tales in which child-hood is reflected in the simplicity and intensity of its own experience."
The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with afford-
able hardbound editions of impor-
tant works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-
fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring
as its emblem the running torch-
bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau-
gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.

Review: In the Morison house the important goes unsaid and indirection is the operative mode--conversation stops where it should start and key terms such as fear, pain, pregnancy, fail to be addressed. The younger son, an eight-year-old, passes his days deciphering adults' inaccessible discussions. "In this fashion they communicated with each other, out of knowledge and experience inaccessible to Bunny. By nods and silences. By a tired curve of his mother's mouth. By his father's measuring glance over the top of his spectacles." Bunny's older brother would rather escape to the outside world, and their father finds declaiming the day's headlines--World War I's end and the onslaught of Spanish Influenza--far preferable to engagement. Only Elizabeth, their mother, is capable of holding the family together. The fifth main character in They Came Like Swallows is the house itself. Maxwell expresses the boys' reactions through this labile, interior landscape. Bunny finds the dining room can be "braced and ready for excitement"; later his brother realizes "for the first time how still the house was, how full of waiting, ... tense and expectant." Though war never makes it to Illinois, the flu changes all. First Bunny is stricken, and once he recovers Elizabeth, pregnant, dies from it. In quiet, piercing prose, William Maxwell's second novel, originally published in 1937, evokes the greatest of losses and the terrors of imagination.

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William Maxwell
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Book Description Modern Library, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: Like New. Dust Jacket Condition: Like New. Third Edition. Publisher's hardback in nearly new condition: firm and square, no bumps, no splits. Complete with original dustjacket: sharp and bright, no tears, no chips. Contents tight, crisp and clean; no pen-marks. Not from a library so no such stamps or labels. Looks unread. Thus a tidy book in very presentable condition. Seller Inventory # 091113

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Book Description Modern Library, New York, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Modern Library Edition. New York: Modern Library, 1997. First Modern Library edition, 1997. Putty colored cloth with dustjacket. Near fine with a slight fade line along the bottom edge of the front cover, tight binding, clean pages, no names or other markings, dustjacket in mylar protector. First Modern Library Edition. Hard Cover. Very Good/Very Good. 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 037583

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