McEwan, Ian. (b. 1948).
W o r k
- early period: notoriously controversial in subject matter, exploits dark, perverse, even gothic material
- contrasts repudiating horror themes concerning violence, murder, incest, paedophilia, etc. x a precise, unemotional, matter-of-fact style
- disrupts conventional moral perspectives x but: draws the reader into involvement with the characters and complicity with their crimes
- mature period: continues to explore the impact of extreme situations on ordinary people x but: abandons the most disquieting of his early themes
- preoccupied with the ways in which social and political issues determine our personal lives
- perfects his characteristic disconcerting x but: chaste prose style: perfectly modulated, cultivated, and precise
F i c t i o n :
In Between the Sheets (1978):
- short stories on child traumas, deviant sexuality, and disjointed families
The Cement Garden (1978):
- a sexually explicit novella on perversion and obsession: orphaned children bury their mother's corpse in the basement to avoid custody, their lives fall apart, and the two eldest children end up in an incestuous relationship
The Comfort of Strangers (1981):
- his early masterpiece, on a dreamlike collusion of an English couple with their charismatic assassin who murders them during their holiday in Venice
The Child in Time (1987):
- an intense and sober study of the devastating effects of the loss of a child: an infant daughter of young parents is kidnapped and never found
Black Dogs (1992):
- an investigation of the nature of evil in the Nazi death-camps, the post-war France, the Berlin Wall, etc.
Enduring Love (1997):
- his mature masterpiece, on a person suffering from ‘erotomania’, i.e. holding a delusional belief of another person being in love with him
- a ‘contemporary fable’, on the meeting of three men at the funeral of their former lover and their sparkling off a bitter feud
- a challenging novel concerned with an elderly novelist's seeking atonement for an irrevocable damage she has caused in her family
D r a m a :
The Imitation Game (1981):
- a clever TV play concerned with a code-breaking centre in WW II
The Ploughman’s Lunch (1985):
- a screenplay satirizing political complacency in the time of restlessness
AuthorIan McEwan. (b. 1948). British.
WorkNovelist. Short story writer. Playwright. Author of The Cement Garden (1978).
GenresModern fiction. Gothicism. Psychological realism.
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"Four twenty-storey tower blocks stood on wide aprons of cracked asphalt where weeds were pushing through. They looked even older and sadder than our house. All down their concrete sides were colossal stains, almost black, caused by the rain. They never dried out."
From The Cement Garden (1978).