Brain Surgery

EVER AFTER

by Graham Swift

Knopf; 276 pages; $21

Readers who devoured Waterland a few years ago will remember finding in Graham Swift's novel an inventiveness common to many of the younger British novelists -- Martin Amis, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan -- matched with a sense of inquiry and of mystery that is not so common. Waterland was a novel electric with ideas. Yet in his intricate narrative of generations and degenerations, Swift achieved something remarkable: a dense, literary text that raced ahead with the compulsive fury of a page turner.

In Ever After, Swift has managed the feat again,...

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