Yes, as the title says, there is a story called England in this collection, but you might say England is the only story here. England, the English and a certain Englishness.
There's Charlie, the high-rise worker who - joke - went up in the world, all the way from Wapping to Blackheath, making his fortune working on the shining towers that transformed London's docks into Docklands.
There's Vangeli the barber, who snips and thinks about the thoughts going through the skull beneath his fingertips. "In a barber's they pay to stare at their own faces, and you see what goes on when they do."
There's Jimmy, whose story begins, irresistibly, "When I was a small boy we had a neighbour called Mr Wilkinson, who was a weirdo."
Twenty-five stories, some just a few pages, generally set in the approximately-now, with a few excursions into the past.
Mostly, they're about "ordinary" people, doing the things most of us do, and facing crises that are no less shattering, just because they happen to everyone. Regret and the prospect of death feature strongly, but so do touches of sly humour.
The effect is like eavesdropping in a crowd, hearing a snatch of conversation, or one side of an argument, then moving on. These are not stories that come to a neat and tidy conclusion, with a clever ending and a capital-M message. Like life, in other words.
And Swift - author of the Booker Prize-winning Last Orders and the magical Waterland - is nothing if not a superb craftsman, able to slip more information into a sentence than many writers can jam into a page.
Perfect, then? Not quite. A couple of the stories from the distant past don't quite fit, but there's a bigger issue here. It's that Englishness thing. Throughout, the mood is of reticence, soldiering on, things unspoken, passions unexpressed, the depths beneath still waters. Are the English still like this? Maybe, but it often seems a very long way from the shouty, self-obsessed 21st century.
In fact, modernity is oddly absent. Hardly anyone uses a mobile phone, no one browses the web, there's no Twitter, no Facebook. In fact, there's very little about these stories that couldn't have been written decades earlier.
Perhaps that's the point - the more things change, etc - but it's hard to escape the feeling that Swift is writing about the England in which he came of age (he's 65) rather than today. He does it beautifully, but it still feels like another country.
England and Other Stories
by Graham Swift
(Simon & Schuster $37)