Tag Archives: review

Book Review: Swan by Frances Mayes


The Masons are a prominent but now fragmented family who have lived for generations in Swan, an edenic, hidebound small town in Georgia. As Swan opens, a bizarre crime pulls Ginger Mason home from her life as an archeologist in Italy: The body of her mother, Catherine, a suicide nineteen years before, has been mysteriously exhumed. Reunited on new terms with her troubled, isolated brother J.J., who has never ventured far from Swan, the Mason children grapple with the profound effects of their mother’s life and death on their own lives. When a new explanation for Catherine’s death emerges, and other closely guarded family secrets rise to the surface as well, Ginger and J.J. are confronted with startling truths about their family, a particular ordeal in a family and a town that wants to keep the past buried.

The feeling I got from reading this book was like having warm butter melting in my mouth.

I know that sounds a bit flowery but where there is a tragic event that scarred a family, I’m all in, eager to know what happened, when it happened and more so how the family talk about it.

Now, here with Catherine Mason gone- her husband in a nursing home unaware of his surroundings, there are her children: Ginger, an Architect, and J.J. well…he’s the one who loves his time alone in the woods.

It’s a beautiful tale of two children who are grieving their mother, their childhood and most of all…a family that’s looking to deal with a tragedy they never saw coming.

I loved the insights on the characters. They are as complex as they are unraveled but you can’t help but enjoy how crisp the author brings this to light.

Lily had opinions but refused to examine them. p.136

The events in the story take place in 7 days or so from July 7, 1975 to July 14.

I could relate to J.J at some point when he said:

“You know how a fish sounds when it leaps out of water? If I could write that in a word, I’d know how to be a Writer. Or like the bee, that sizzling sound when it goes back to the swarm. Words are all you have to write with and most things don’t go into words.”

I’d give this heartheartheartheart

However, a dramatic part of me wished for a different ending, but all’s well that ends well.

You can buy a copy of this book on: Amazon