Tag: Author: Ian McEwan


So You Want to Read… (Ian McEwan)

Posted 15 September, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 5 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! πŸ™‚

Another month, another edition of So You Want to Read…. For this month, I decided to feature Ian McEwan (see author tag), one of my favourite authors. There’s just something about his use of language, his prose, the stories he writes about that really draws you in and/or piques your interest. I wanted to read a considerable amount of his works before finally putting together a list, and I believe that now is the time to share my list of recommenations πŸ™‚

First time considering Ian McEwan’s writings? Here’s my list of books on where to start:

  • Atonement (review) — My first McEwan book and it remains one of my all-time favourite books. It introduced me to his wonderful writing; the best way I can describe it is that he’s just able to find the right word for every thought and feeling that flickers across these characters’ minds and experiences. It’s a devastating read to be sure, and it left me thinking about the characters and how one simple action unravelled lives and changed trajectories. Fun fact: this has to be one of the longest book reviews and book dissections I’ve ever written on this blog πŸ˜›
  • Amsterdam (review) — My second McEwan book, it remains quite high up there on my list of recommendations. Perhaps a bit more clinical in approach and structure, it nonetheless showcases all of McEwan’s power of prose and use of language, not to mention the complexity of the characters and the fragility of relationships.
  • The Children Act (review) — I’ve read a number of McEwan’s books since Amsterdam that, whilst interesting, failed to hit the same heights as the first two books I mentioned. With The Children Act, McEwan not only delivers his signature character drama amidst controversial/current issues but also grabbed the reader’s attention from the very start, slipping readers into his protagonist’s life and thoughts from the get-go. Following Fiona Maye for the first half of the novel and what she does in her job was just fascinating to read and I think she’s a character that first time readers will want to follow from start to finish of this book.
  • Bonus: On Chesil Beach (review) — Don’t be fooled by the slimness of this book: Ian McEwan manages to cram a lot of complexity into this short tale of newly-weds on their honeymoon in 1962. I initially didn’t include it on my list because it’s a really quiet drama and character study; you really need to sort of settle in and read this book carefully to really appreciate the nuances of what the author is trying to tell. It is by no means a quick read. But it’s worth the mention because it really showcases McEwan’s ability to really get into the thoughts of his characters, right down to every ugly thought that you’d hide from the world.



And that’s my list! If you’ve read Ian McEwan’s books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! πŸ™‚

Review: Nutshell

Posted 21 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Nutshell
By: Ian McEwan
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

“Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite spaceβ€”were it not that I have bad dreams.”
Shakespeare: Hamlet

Nutshell is an altogether original story of deceit and murder, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature. Love and betrayal, life and death come together in the most unexpected, moving ways in this sensational new novel from Ian McEwan, which will make readers first gasp with astonishment then laugh with delight. Dazzling, funny and audacious, it is the finest recent work from a true master, beautifully told, brilliantly executed.

I was on a bit of an Ian McEwan roll some time ago; I think I picked up this book around Christmas. It’s a fairly short book and I was in need of a short read so I started reading it.

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Review: On Chesil Beach

Posted 20 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

On Chesil Beach
By: Ian McEwan
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

All she had needed was the certainty of his love, and his reassurance that there was no hurry when a lifetime lay ahead of them. It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come…

I first read this book back in 2010 when I was doing my semester abroad but like the few books that I read during my time there, I never got around to reviewing them here. I remember liking it enough but not quite getting it; I expected more drama a la Atonement (review) and felt it ended quite abruptly. Having read a few of his books recently and with news that this book was being adapted into a movie, I figured it was time to revisit the title.

SPOILERS if you haven’t read the book because I will talk about it to some great length!

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Review: The Children Act

Posted 24 January, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Children Act
By: Ian McEwan
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of thirty years is in crisis.

At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith? In the course of reaching a decision Fiona visits Adam in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

(Grr, a bit of backstory: I typed up a wonderful review to this novel and then my laptop decided to shut down on me without politely giving me the heads up. Not cool, laptop, not cool. Let’s see how much I recall from this)

I admit, I was sort of debating whether or not to check out this novel. On the one hand, I love Ian McEwan’s writing; Atonement (review) is one of my favourite novels of all time. But on the other hand, the last few books I read by him were rather lacklustre IMO. Nonetheless I eventually caved and decided to pick up this novel πŸ˜›

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Review: Sweet Tooth

Posted 5 December, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

Sweet Tooth
By: Ian McEwan
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

Serena Frome, the beautiful mathematician daughter of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair with an older man during her final year at Cambridge before taking a job with MI5 in London. The year is 1972: Britain, confronting economic disaster, is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism; the Cold War has entered a moribund phase but the fight goes on and British Intelligence hesitates at little to influence hearts and minds. MI5 sends Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, on a secret mission that brings her to Tom Healy, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? What is deception and who is deceiving whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage–trust no one.

Oh, man, this book has been on my to-read pile for the last…two? three? years. I kept putting it off for some reason–likely school-related, then just wasn’t in the mood to read it–but I was excited to check it out. I’ve loved Ian McEwan’s books–Atonement (review) is one of my favourite novels ever–though it is a bit of a hit and miss sometimes (didn’t really enjoy Saturday, for example). But I finally got around to reading this book now, yay!

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