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The Child In Time [Paperback]

Ian McEwan
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
Price: £6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

5 Jun 1997
The Child in Time opens with a harrowing event. Stephen Lewis,a successful author of children's books, takes his three-year-old daughter on a routine Saturday morning trip to the supermarket. While waiting in line, his attention is distracted and his daughter is kidnapped. Just like that. From there, Lewis spirals into bereavement that has effects on his relationship with his wife, his psyche and time itself.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (5 Jun 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099755017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099755012
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian McEwan is a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children's novel illustrated by Anthony Browne. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, The Cement Garden, Enduring Love, Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize, Atonement, Saturday and On Chesil Beach.

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Child in Time opens with a harrowing event. Stephen Lewis, a successful author of children's books, takes his 3-year-old daughter on a routine Saturday morning trip to the supermarket. While waiting in line, his attention is distracted and his daughter is kidnapped. Just like that. From there, Lewis spirals into bereavement that has effects on his relationship with his wife, his psyche and time itself: "It was a wonder there could be so much movement, so much purpose, all the time. He himself had none." This beautifully haunting book won a 1987 Whitbread Prize. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The Child in Time is an extraordinary achievement in which form and content, theory and practice, are so expertly and inseparably interwoven that the novel becomes an advertisement for, or proof of, its own thesis." (Sheila Macleod Guardian)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important novel, moving and all enduring 5 Dec 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The finest book by Ian Mcewan I have ever read. The attention to detail on every page gives this novel an extra dimension, and Mcewan has dedicated so much thought to this book that it makes your mind spin. Parts of this are liable to change your life, you will find yourself drawn into Stephen's life and as a consequence you suffer as much as he does. Brilliant and utterly absorbing.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the head and heart 22 Nov 2006
Format:Paperback
Like the previous reviewer I feel compelled to counter some of the criticism levelled at 'The Child In Time', a novel I believe to be one of Ian McEwan's finest.

The novel follows a narrative trajectory that is common to many of McEwan's works: one significant - and in this case highly tragic - event leads to a period of disintegration and an exploration of themes.

In 'The Child In Time' a virtuosity of interwoven storylines all centre on the protagonist Stephen Lewis, and offer a deep exploration of the nature of the personal and the private. These two worlds are juxtaposed brilliantly, and with great subtlety. Stephen is presented as father, children's author, member of a government committee on childcare and friend. As in 'Saturday' there are lengthy passages involved with the minutaie of professional life - in this case Whitehall - but perhaps some of the political machinations become more relevant to the reader when viewed as embodiments of the Government stance on childcare, and the more self-centred ideology of the time. It is wrong to criticise the book on account of these sections seeming 'dull' or 'irrelevant' as has been the case below, as they are all part of the common theme of the novel; whether political life is relevant to the reader or not should not matter when it is the nature of time and childhood that is in fact being discussed. This is relevant to us all.

Further weight is given to McEwan's premise in the contrast of the rural and the urban; the rural embodying the return to the private self, the public world of city life presented as a complacent treadmill of government reports, noise and people.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The case in favour of... 27 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback
I felt compelled to write a review of this book after reading the ones already submitted below. I know that enjoyment of a book is personal to the reader, but I was surprised to find that there were so few positive reviews. The Child In Time is one of my favourite books of all time and certainly my favourite of the novels by McEwan that I have read. I disagree with the opinions that only parents, couples and politicians will enjoy or get anything from this book - I first read it for my A Level in English Literature (i.e. as a 17 year old student) and loved it, and have since re-read it at age 25 and loved it even more because now I'm older - albeit still childless and still not a politician - I have been able to gain more meaning from it and discover new levels to it.

For me, the best thing about this book is the quality of the writing. I find when reading The Child In Time that I can visualise perfectly the scenes and empathise with the feelings McEwan describes, despite having never experienced the trauma of losing a child, the break-up of my marriage or witnessing a friend's mental breakdown. That to me is the mark of a top-class writer. I felt that the characters were utterly believable, and although the plot may not be action-packed from start to finish I liked that about it because somehow that makes it more starkly realistic.

Anyway, as I said at the beginning of this review, I know everyone who reads The Child In Time will feel differently about it, and just because I love it doesn't mean you will. The reviews below just seem overall to be negative about this book and I wanted to speak out in favour of a book that I feel is beautifully written and ultimately uplifting.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
By Erika
Format:Paperback
'The Child In Time' was my first exposure to McEwan, and despite some reservations, led me to reading the rest of his novels and short stories. The child of the title is not one individual but many, and it is the parallels between childhood and adulthood, sanity and madness, portrayed through a number of 'childhoods', both literal and figurative which makes the book work on a number of levels. The main plot concerns Steven's attempts to find his lost daughter, to accept his loss and to salvage his crumbling marriage. Along the way he is drawn back into his own childhood in a sequence of incidents, often therapeutic, at times unhealthy and downright disturbing, where he is forced into examining both his relationship with his parents, and himself as an individual and as a parent. Throughout the process there is the cautionary figure of Charles Darke, a man denied childhood and regressing in his middle age, and the forays of both into politics, with its own bizarre parent-child structures.
The book manages to depict all of this, with realistic, fully formed and yet novel characters, whilst also commenting on British life as it was and as it could have been in a matter of years. As well as the ridiculous workings of politics and spin, the effects of television and the press are shown and the world of publishing is represented by Darke. In this way, McEwan evokes a whole credible environment that supports his points.
My main criticism of the novel is McEwan's tendency towards the sentimental, and in particular his conventional and less than realistic views of men (as active) and women (passive), which undermines the richness and scope of humanity that is such an asset in this tale. I would say this is something evident in his novels as a whole.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Is Ian McEwan ...
Britain's No 1 contemporary author? It certainly seems that way to me. He is always up to standard and The Child in Time is one of his best. Read more
Published 2 months ago by rosalind
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what you might expect
This strange, rather disjointed novel is based on the disappearance of a three-year-old child, and I suppose I was expecting a straightforward narrative. Not so. Read more
Published 4 months ago by F. M. M. Stott
3.0 out of 5 stars expertly sad
I relished McEwan's writing style - he so understands the scale and breadth of human emotion. I hung onto this story but realised half way through that I was at all times under a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Allan Wright
3.0 out of 5 stars two in one
two stories rolled into one and they kind of collide but yeah believable if odd.....he is a strange writer at times.
Published 6 months ago by escorial
5.0 out of 5 stars as ever
it's a long time since mcewan wrote a mediocre novel. such control of his material! a master at work! UK's greatest living novelist!
Published 6 months ago by barçascot
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Not his best, but Ian McE always delivers something pretty special. I have never had a dull moment reading Ian MacEwan. One of our greatest living authors.
Published 10 months ago by Juancho
2.0 out of 5 stars Binding fell apart
Not much to say really, got this for my daughter's English course. She not a big reader but has just begun to take some interest. Read more
Published 11 months ago by tone-deaf
3.0 out of 5 stars missing child
I enjoyed bits of this book, but found that I got a bit bored with it. It took me a while to finish it.
Published 11 months ago by annwol
2.0 out of 5 stars Really did not make much sense
I like my 'demanding' read as much as the other bloke, but I also like books to have stories, something substantive to say about us, the world, life, whatever. Read more
Published 11 months ago by FM
5.0 out of 5 stars the child in time
This is a fantastic read, I have recommended to many friends. Such a fascinating concept explored and I have gone back to read a second time, it's a 'hairs standing up at the back... Read more
Published 12 months ago by mavis
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