They Came Like Swallows

By William Maxwell,

Book cover of They Came Like Swallows

Book description

Discover William Maxwell's classic, heart-breaking portrait of an ordinary American family struck by the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic

'A story of such engaging warmth that it would thaw the heart of any critic... Will melt many a reader to tears' TIME

Elizabeth Morison is an ordinary woman.

Yet, to eight-year-old…

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Why read it?

1 author picked They Came Like Swallows as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book is an old favorite of mine, and I picked up again after decades of not having read it because it deals with a child’s experience of his mother’s death during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

As a historian of childhood, I was thinking about the experiences of children during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and of this past one. I recalled that this was the best book I had read that captured the feeling of losing a mother and the family transformation that followed.

It is a beautifully written, melancholy book. So much is left unsaid by the…

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