Byline: IAN THOMSON
MAKING AN ELEPHANT: WRITING FROM WITHIN by Graham Swift (Picador, [pounds sterling]18.99)
GRAHAM Swift, born in London in 1949, has Russian-Jewish blood on his mother's side, so he's well placed to appreciate the vagaries of our mongrel mixed-up world. Making an Elephant, his first work of non-fiction, is a miscellany of essays and reflections on the nature of cultural uprootedness and displacement, with Montaigne-like disquisitions on the life of the writer, literary friendships, death and bereavement.
Like Montaigne, Swift is excited by pretty well anything of human concern, interest and puzzlement. Memories of fishing with Ted Hughes …