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65 Reviews
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 (27)
4 star:
 (19)
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 (11)
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic
A perverse but enchanting book; beautifully written and perfectly constructed. This is a story about a family of children who find themselves orphaned while living in a house surrounded by a wasteland, an image that perfectly reflects the emptiness of their days. Finding themselves without adult guidance, it shows how they slide into sloth and then perversity. Being a...
Published on 19 Jan 2002 by Penguin Egg

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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Look a little deeper
Although I read this book some years ago now, I still remember the subtlety of McEwan's writing well. It struck me because the subject matter risked being "sick" or crude on the surface, but I found that on deeper analysis it was not and wider themes emerged.
One of the strongest memories of the book is the way in which McEwan created the feeling of heat...
Published on 3 Oct 2001


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and addictive, 23 Jun 2009
By 
J. Green (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
As with all Mcewan titles there's a very dark side to the exploration of relationships in the cement garden. The lost innocence of youth feature heavily as three siblings struggle to survive in a parentless world.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Happy Families..., 26 May 2001
By 
T. BRANNEY (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
Early McEwan, showing the mixture of familial and slightly gothic themes that have resonated through all of his subsequent novels.
McEwan really is a master story-teller, and this is a taut and spare little novel. Everything rings true and feels authentic. Without a word wasted he manages to perfectly capture the oppressive heat of a stifling summer, and the surly apathy of his adolescent narrator. Go read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars was not this book the true depiction of the world we live in, 19 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cement Garden (Hardcover)
Though I have not well understood the meaning of the end of the novel, I think that The Cement Garden may have its place among other works studying and putting a critical eye on the maelstromical world we live in. Our relation with others is not as pure and "holy" as we, as the puritans would do, claim. Keep a thought about it and good reading
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Impressive Read, 15 Jan 2006
By 
D. Turner (South Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
This award winning little book is a real joy to read, but once you've finished it go and buy the DVD Movie of the same title as it's absolutely astounding!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My best explanation, 28 Jun 2004
This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
The Cement Garden is arguably a book about conspiracy, death, sex, responsibility, reflection and an exploration into all of the above. Ian McEwan tells of a journey about four youths who are forced to fend for themselves after the death of both their parents. Although they are bound to act as a team due to a dangerous secret, McEwan writes about their own individual struggles. There's Julie, who aspires to be the mother of the group. Tom, who takes the role of a needy young boy and inevitably a liability. Sue, the most static of the characters, who does nothing more than write down her feelings. And then there's Jack, the main Character, whose entire existence revolves around exploration, mainly into the aspect of death and sexual prowess.
The Cement Garden is an enjoyable read but lacked drive at certain parts. The beginning had a purpose, and so did the end, but the middle of the book needed some attention by the reader. All in all, I liked the book and am encouraged to read more books by Ian McEwan.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doubly apt title., 1 Dec 2006
This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
The death of the father and how the son feels for a certain responsibility of it is how the book begins. The son, Jack, goes on to illustrate how seemingly insignificant this is by what follows. You can feel the heat and hear the noises which break silences - yet the reader is not overwhelmed by dramatisation or any explanation in a progressively disturbing tale which is told as a skewed adolescent boy might tell it. The poignant although straightforward focus of the story perhaps gives it a very enchanting quality as cruel fate makes `The Cement Garden' a doubly apt title. Jack's position in the changing family hierarchy has consequences for himself and his siblings. A combination of nave ignorance and regression is an unembellished way to describe a complex dynamic between family members. The reader may tell her/himself surely this cannot be happening, but incredulous though it is, it feels so real and that is what makes it so feasible.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrid, 12 April 2012
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This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
This is one of the (sadly) numerous modern novels that are hailed by critics as bold and powerful, when in saner times they would be disdained as sordid and revolting. I had to read it because it was being used as a set book by a centre whose exam scripts I was marking, God help them.

There's an obsession throughout with human emissions, from semen to snot, not to mention those from the decaying corpse of the children's mother, which they have casually stashed in the cellar. Incest is not the most repulsive aspect of these chidlren's behaviour, which says it all really.

If that's your idea of a powerful literary achievement, read away. Meanwhile I shall go and be quietly sick. But I shan't leave the result lying around for the duration, as these characters would undoubtedly do.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dark, depressing, pointless, 3 April 2009
By 
John Holland (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
Seriously dark and morbid, this novel seems to set out to shock but without finding a reason why. It describes four children left orphaned in the family home, and their descent into sloth as they struggle to come to terms with their new life. The decisions they make are unnatural and quite freakish, which starts to suggest a certain inevitability in the conclusion.
But really what is the purpose of this - the pointlessness of their decisions pervades the novel. The characters, barely alive to begin with, slide into emptiness. And the conclusion makes a final attempt to shock before giving up and whimpering to an end.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review on the Cement Garden by Stuart Maloney, 27 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
This book is a shady tale about a teenage boy having to cope with the death of both parents and his incestuous feelings towards his sister. At times I found this book gripping making me want to read on and at other times it became tediously boring with nothing particularly interesting taking place. At these points in the book where lulls take place I became aware that reading the book was becoming more like a job than something you are reading for pleasure. I feel the storyline could of been developed more to create a constant feeling of suspense.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that great, 15 Feb 2008
By 
A. Dean (Nottingham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
I bought this book following all the great reviews. As someone who runs a project looking after orphans, some who live alone, I thought it would be an interesting read. However I found the characters & setting unbelievable and difficult to relate to. There was little exploration of the children's feelings about their parents' deaths and it seemed more centred around their sexual awakening. The climax at the end was predictable. I won't be recommending this to my friends!
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The Cement Garden
The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan (Paperback - 5 Jun 1997)
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