His fellow Brits once dubbed him "Ian Macabre" due to his string of dazzling yet morbid novels. But this time around, Ian McEwan has written a gorgeous, lush book, taking on the genteel shades of Jane Austen, in particular her Northanger Abbey and its young heroine with the over-active imagination that lands her in so much trouble. But McEwan moves beyond Austen's staid world ... Read more.
A LitLovers LitPick (Jan. '07)
This haunting novel, which just failed to win the Booker this year, is at once McEwan at his most closely observed and psychologically penetrating, and his most sweeping and expansive.... With each book McEwan ranges wider, and his powers have never been more fully in evidence than here.
Moving deftly between styles, this is a compelling exploration of guilt and the struggle for forgiveness. Recommended for most public libraries. —Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA.
Every lustrously rendered, commanding scene is charged with both despair and diabolical wit, and McEwan's Jamesian prose covers the emotional spectrum from searing eroticism to toxic guilt. In sum, he excels brilliantly at depicting moral dilemmas and stressed minds in action without losing a keen sense of the body's terrible fragility, the touching absurdity of desire, and time's obstinacy. —Donna Seaman
The story is compelling, the characters well drawn and engaging, and the outcome is almost always in doubt. The descriptions of the retreat and the subsequent hospitalization of the soldiers are grim and realistic. Readers are spared little, yet the journey is worth the observed pain and distress. Well-read teens will find much to think about in this novel. —Susan H. Woodcock, Chantilly Regional Library, VA.
School Library Journal
McEwan's latest, both powerful and equisite, considers the making of a writer, the dangers and rewards of imagination, and the juncture between innocence and awareness, all set against the late afternoon of an England soon to disappear.
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