Thursday, 14 May 2015

Bingeing on an author

I have been bingeing on the novels of Ian McEwan.

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_McEwan )

It all started when on April 18th 2015, at the New Books stack of Sarasota County's "Fruitville Library"  I picked out McEwan's 2014 novel "The Children Act".

It has to do with the effects of an Act of Parliament in Great Britain (The Children Act) and a High Court case involving a 17 (almost 18) year old boy, a Jehovah's Witness, and whether or not his parents could refuse a blood transfusion which could  save his life.

I was immediately hooked on McEwan's novels.

Since April 18th I have read

"The Comfort of Strangers"  1981 (a dark and somewhat gothic novel).

"Amsterdam" 1998  (three old friends meet at the burial of a woman who had been married to one of them, and the lover to two.  At the funeral they have an unpleasant encounter with the British Foreign Secretary.  But are they truly friends?  The plot thickens as it leads to a deadly encounter in Amsterdam).

"Saturday" 2005 - my favourite- (one astonishing and unpredictable day in the life of a brilliant London Neurosurgeon)

On Chesil Beach2007 (The courtship and wedding of two shy and in-experienced lovers.) Their relationship falls apart on their honeymoon night at a Hotel near Chesil Beach. An annulment ensues.  If only one or the other of them had taken steps, or spoken words towards the other in a late night denouement on Chesil Beach).

"Sweet Tooth"  2012  (A student is seduced by her Professor: he is an MI 5 operative.  The seduction is a ploy, leading to her low level work in the vast bureaucracy which is MI 5 -  leading to a disastrous failure on her part.)

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There's the "barebones", BUT

(1) McEwan's characters are not particularly interesting in and of themselves.  They are mostly English Middle-Class (or aspiring to Middle Class) people whose lives are un-exceptional, dull, boring; and driven by their own internal bureaucratic selves.

(2) McEwan, from a blue-collar background, has a deep understanding of the foibles, failures and frustrations of aspiring entrants into English Middle Class life.

(3)  Above all else McEwan does his research:

In Saturday, McEwan shows deep knowledge of neurological surgery.

In The Children Act, he has an important understanding of the British (English?) High Court.

In Sweet Tooth, McEwan takes us into the world of MI5, in which no one can be trusted. and every colleague  must at the same time be welcomed as friend, or suspected as foe.

1 comment:

  1. I just finished "On Chesil Beach" and found it remarkable. Don't forget to read "Solar" which is hilarious.

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