Category Archives: McEwan, Ian

“Meaning”: Ian McEwan, The Children Act

She thought her responsibilities ended at the courtroom walls. But how could they? He came to find her, wanting what everyone wanted, and what only free-thinking people, not the supernatural, could give. Meaning. I love reading Ian McEwan’s prose. It’s so satisfyingly meticulous, every word the right one, every one placed just so. It’s not […]

“The bare outline of a useful story”: Ian McEwan, Sweet Tooth

If Sweet Tooth were not by Ian McEwan (author, as is stressed on the cover of my edition, of Atonement — one of my very favorite recent [that is, post-2000] novels) would I have been disappointed in it? How unfair, in a way, that the burden of great expectations should interfere with my appreciation of this well-crafted, […]

Monday Miscellany: Friday Night Lights, South Riding, Ian McEwan, & a Musical Bonus

We’re finishing out a four-day weekend here based on a holiday we don’t even celebrate in its hopelessly commercial secular form–Maddie is the only one of us who’d really appreciate Easter Bunny stuff but she’s allergic to both eggs and nuts, so never mind, and just as well too, really. It doesn’t seem like much […]

Ian McEwan, Solar

Solar is everything I expected of a new novel by Ian McEwan, who may be the smartest contemporary writer I read: clever, timely, acerbic, well-written, intensely readable. The problem is that those expectations are not, themselves, at a peak, by which I mean I had no expectation that a new novel by Ian McEwan would […]

Rereading Atonement

In my latest post about This Week in My Classes, I spent so much time on Gwendolen and Daniel Deronda that I never got around to Briony and Atonement. I mentioned there, though, that I was struck by at least one parallel between these two protagonists, which is their will to power or mastery. As […]

A Reader’s Responsibilities

Ian McEwan’s recent letter in The Guardian points to an aspect of criticism that is perhaps underestimated by those advocating a turn away from academic approaches towards more ‘aesthetic’ or ‘literary’ responses. In reply to a reviewer who attributed one of his character’s views to him, McEwan writes, As for Saturday – a character in […]

Ian McEwan, Saturday

I approached Saturday with caution because of its rave reviews, but I found this novel entirely engrossing, genuinely interesting, original, and moving. Part of the surprise it held for me was Henry Perowne’s cautiously supportive attitude towards the war in Iraq. I’ve become so accustomed to anti-war perorations from literary luminaries that I had no […]

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