by Graham Swift
from the January 17, 2022 issue of The New Yorker

I was very pleased with the last Graham Swift story that showed up in The New Yorker, “Blushes,” from exactly a year ago. I’m thrilled that after the large part of his career focused on novels that Swift seems to have re-kindled a love affair with the short story. With “Fireworks” he goes back to the Cuban Missile Crisis:

It was late October, 1962. Russian missiles were being shipped to Cuba. Kennedy was having words with Khrushchev. The world might be coming to an end.

It was a common remark: “Cheer up, it’s not the end of the world.”

But Swift so often is able to find a nuanced interior life even within the larger historical drama. Last year’s “Blushes” is a good example, dealing with a doctor’s life in a pandemic. I was worried it would just go over so much that we get in the news, but I was touched by story. I hope something similar is in store with “Fireworks”!

Please feel free to let me know your thoughts on the story!

Please consider purchasing through

Liked it? Take a second to support The Mookse and the Gripes on Patreon!