Ian McEwan

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Marc Joan

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Aug 26, 2014
My daughter has been reading 'The Daydreamer', by Ian McEwan. I read through it last night & was impressed enough by his writing to want to try some of his adult books. Does anyone have any views on which of his novels are not to be missed / which don't quite work? The plot summaries that I've read so far don't really grab me -- too much rape and incest.
 
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I read and admired The Cement Garden, I think his first novel? But it wasn't exactly enjoyable - harrowing. I haven't particularly loved anything else. Atonement has been hyped madly of course, with the film and all. You might enjoy that more as it's less brutal.
 
I recently read Nutshell, a contemporary take on Hamlet. It’s told from the POV of an unborn child, whose mother and uncle are plotting to murder his father. Loved it.
 
Thanks all. I don't know, though, the book descriptions on Wiki aren't really pressing any buttons for me. I shall muse on it...
 
His first published books were short story collections...First Love, Last Rites and In Between The Sheets. I was still working as a librarian at the time, and they were considered racy because of their sexual content...helped by nudity on the covers.

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Ian McEwan has toned his writing down since then, becoming a member of the literary establishment. I prefer his short stories to his novels. On Chesil Beach was favourably reviewed, as was the film adaptation, but it annoyed me—largely because of the way it pulled so many punches in a repressed British way! :rolleyes:
 
I've read three of his books - the latest being The Children Act. Extremely successful writer but doesn't do it for me. I was going to write a longer post but am slightly worried about negative reviews being 'out there' for everyone to see. I wasn't going to be rude but this is public isn't it?
 
I've read three of his books - the latest being The Children Act. Extremely successful writer but doesn't do it for me. I was going to write a longer post but am slightly worried about negative reviews being 'out there' for everyone to see. I wasn't going to be rude but this is public isn't it?
Good point, maybe I should have posted in the Back Room, but I was only looking for advice, not critiques...it's a fine line, I guess...
 
I'm truly undecided about Ian McEwan. I too read First Love, Last Rites, but I don't remember much about it. I also read "The Comfort of Strangers". I remember choosing that on one of my journeys back to Italy because it was based in Venice. This is yonks ago and don't remember much of the plot, if there is one because I think his work is based on relationships rather than action, and where the action is, it seems to leave a bitter taste in the mouth. He uses a lot of back story, on the lines of James Joyce, and very DH Lawrence in his sensual approach, though I think DH Lawrence is superb at it, whereas McEwan tends to dwell on the dark, heavy, negative sides of relationships. He goes into details about how a water bus anchors, for no reason at all if not to set the atmosphere, and says how elderly women sell flowers, magazines, crucifixes and statuettes outside a hospital... he seems intent to capture the dark, morbid atmosphere of a place which left me aghast because this is Venice he was talking about- the felicitous, vivacious, full of colour Venice- and felt he was totally out of tune... but then this is why Ian McEwan is Ian McEwan.
 
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Good point, maybe I should have posted in the Back Room, but I was only looking for advice, not critiques...it's a fine line, I guess...

The predicament of making adverse criticism of a writer's work on a public forum is a tricky one, but I suspect that Ian McEwan couldn't care less. When it comes to us unknowns, anxious about being bashed by know-it-all critics and trolls who vent their spleen at everyone, then it helps to follow Oscar Wilde's dictum:

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In reading about self-publishing, including Smashwords and Amazon's various Kindle options, I've seen it said by several authors that they don't mind scathing reviews and one star ratings, as it generates interest in their books; it's far worse to be completely ignored. One writer said that sales of his ebooks climbed after he received a slew of nasty comments! Crime novelist Barry Faulkner ignores them:

Opinion: Why I Don't Worry About Amazon Reviews | Alliance of Independent Authors: Self-Publishing Advice Center
 
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