This paper aims at delineating the different devices used by Graham Swift in his first novel, The Sweet Shop Owner, concerning the treatment of emotion. Both implicitly and explicitly, Swift is fond of taking risks when it comes to conveying emotion into words. Drawing on the work of Roger Caillois (for his four types of game, including mimesis and ilinx), of Michel Collot (for his concept of ‘matière-émotion’) and Denis Donoghue, the author of a recent essay on eloquence, I will be focussing on those instances when Swift’s absolute mastery of emotion gives way to more or less calculated breaches in his patterning techniques. The conclusion finally reached is that there can be no economy of emotion, even if that means going to the lengths of playing with the writer’s own name. .