Friday, December 5, 2008

Book Club...Ian McEwan

After Atonement-mania last year, if you haven't heard of Ian McEwan, well, I just feel sorry for you. But don't worry- you can quickly get caught up in what all the fuss is about. I recently read these two other McEwan books and recommend them both highly. Both take place over the course of one day in the lives of the characters, and in both books, the mundane details of that day are meticulously rendered but, somehow, never get boring. On Chesil Beach is a very short novel (I would call it a novelette...a novelino) about newlyweds on their wedding day in post-WWII England and their repressed fears and emotions- it is a brutal look at that period in history with a devastating ending. Saturday is the story of one man's "ordinary" day, which turns into a frightening nightmare. Even the unremarkable parts of the day (he visits his elderly mother, he plays squash with a friend) are rife with an odd tension which culminates in the end of the book. The writing is so precise that it takes on a sense of reality, and scenes from both books have stuck with me. I'm telling you, the man has chops.

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