Here We Are

Written by Graham Swift
Review by Linda Harris Sittig

Set during the summer of 1959 in the seaside town of Brighton, England, this novel tells the story of three main characters. Jack Robinson is a compère, the man who introduces different acts in a variety show; Ronnie Deane is a fledgling magician; and Evie White is the magician’s assistant.

The story unravels to include important backstory for each of the three characters’ previous lives. The plot, however, centers on two things: the magic act performed by Ronnie and Evie nightly at the seaside theatre, and the tight-knit friendship of the three characters. Hints are dropped along the way that for Ronnie, the magic is real, and his greatest desires include marrying Evie and performing one last sensational illusion when the show concludes at the end of summer.

All would have gone well, except that when Ronnie returns home for his mother’s funeral, one pivotal decision spins the plot off into an unavoidable conclusion.

The characters are believable, and the descriptive details of the theater in Brighton help to cement the setting. I would categorize the genre as historical fantasy due to the ending. The beginning was a tad slow for me, and the book is divided only by scenes, not chapters, which threw me a bit. Recommended.