Book reviews: Wish You Were Here | Other People’s Money | The Children of Lovers

William Leith reviews the best of this week’s paperback releases

Wish You Were Here

by Graham Swift

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Picador, £7.99

Rating: ****

A married man, Jack, might or might not do something absolutely appalling. It’s something people would talk about for years afterwards. They’d say they never saw it coming – he was such a quiet man. Jack runs a caravan site. He is married to Ellie. A letter arrives at their house in the Isle of Wight. Jack’s brother, a sniper in Iraq, has been killed. Along with Jack, we are sucked into the past. Jack’s past is defined by guns. Dark and exciting.

Other People’s Money

by Justin Cartwright

Bloomsbury, £7.99

Rating: *****

Posh Julian runs a bank in the City. It’s an old, gentlemanly bank. But Julian has been taking risks. And the risks have not been paying off. Julian’s father is dying in a villa in the South of France. His stepmother is having an affair with a rugby player. Her ex, a drunken playwright, is trying to get Daniel Day-Lewis interested in playing a part. This is one of those books about how a chain of events can take place. Clever and funny.

The Children of Lovers

by Judy Golding

Faber, £8.99

Rating: ****

Judy Golding, daughter of the author William, starts this memoir brilliantly. The Golding family are in William’s boat, a Dutch racing barge. Then they see something odd up ahead – a large grey triangle. It’s coming straight at them. It’s a huge ship. As this ship bears down on the Goldings, Judy has the reader in the palm of her hand. Will her father change course? Will the family be sunk? It’s a good metaphor for what happens in the rest of the book – a family at sea, with an intense, stubborn man at the helm. An excellent portrait of a troubled man.