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29 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dogs of Europe
"In the Nightmare of the dark/All the dogs of Europe bark".(W.H.Auden). The underlying philosophical idea of this book is the conflict between the rational and religious views of life, as personified in the characters of the parents-in-law of the narrator, irrevocably in love but totally unable to live in harmony with each other's world view or even agree on the details...
Published on 5 Oct. 2012 by Michael Farman

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading but not wholly enjoyable
Typically, as with much of McEwan's work we don't find out the true base of the story till right at the end.
Black Dogs revolves around the story of a honeymooning couple in France and their confrontation with two Black Dogs.
The book starts with the perspective in the first person, describing the narrators childhood and lack of family, then moves to...
Published on 11 May 1999


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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, But Not A Classic, 11 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Dogs (Paperback)
I found Black Dogs to be a very enjoyable book. The character development was very good and I really enjoyed the preface, which could almost a novel in itself. McEwan's writing style packs a lot of information inot a small space, but when tension is needed, he slows almost to a crawl, creating a very interesting effect that I really enjoyed. In some parts of the story, weeks fly by with a turn of the page, whereas in the climax he spends literally pageson an event that takes less than a second to actually happen. There were some aspects that I did not like. The story jumped around way to much, to the point where its easy to forget what decade you're in. That's partly intended, but it still gets a bit annoying when he overdoes it a bit. Also, the symbolism got a little absurd after a while, where totally implausible things happened. I know it's fiction, but I still would like it to be just a bit more real. All in all, it was a very good book, but I would not go out of my way to recomend it to anyone.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 9 May 2008
By 
Bookaholic (Devon, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Black Dogs (Paperback)
Having read Enduring Love, Atonement and Saturday I was expecting to be blown away once again by Ian McEwan.
I was glad when I had finished the book. Although well written I found the constant change from one decade to another intensely irritating and I
failed to really grasp the import of the black dogs as far as June was concerned.
Such an anti-climax and a book that seemed to go nowhere.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I wish McEwan would write something better., 30 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Black Dogs (Kindle Edition)
I found this just a little empty of something - I know that this is going to sound as if I'm a sentimentalist (which I'm not), but I think it lacked - heart. I wish McEwan would write something better.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars six of one, half a dozen of the other..., 15 Jan. 2009
By 
Markus Isch "mege1" (Schweiz) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Dogs (Paperback)
This is the first novel by Ian McEwan I am undecided about. Most of his novels I like a lot, especially Atonement, and there is one I find too construed (Saturday), but this one here... It's the first in-betweener. There seems to be a rift between Jeremy's childhood story protecting Sally and finding surrogate parents on the one hand, and the story of Bernard and June on the other. The two stories do not have too much in common and so I am left with the feeling that I've somehow read two stories without knowing why they are put together in one text.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I ploughed through it, 21 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Black Dogs (Kindle Edition)
This book was generally disappointing but for some reason I stuck with it. If felt as though i was reading it for an exam. Not really getting into it but enjoying some of the prose.
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5.0 out of 5 stars dark at times, 29 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Black Dogs (Paperback)
There is always a dark undertone to his books and this delivers that..for me his best up until Saturday was released.
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4.0 out of 5 stars McEwan at his Best, 31 Aug. 2014
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M. Chapple "mcmalago" (Devizes, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Dogs (Paperback)
Typically McEwan, with some of the prose absolutely breathtaking. Marred by some 'downtime' in a few places though.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying and overly wordy, 13 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Black Dogs (Paperback)
I usually like McEwan, even though he often enjoys using 250 words where 10 would have done. The fact that Black Dogs took forever and a day to get going didn't surprise me either - again that's a McEwan trademark. But whereas with, for example, Atonement, the patient reader is rewarded by a knock-em-dead story once it does kick in, the same cannot be said of this novel. The symbolism is contrived and heavy-handed and, in my opinion, the characters are too spoilt and naive to be sympathetic. This is a short novel that almost feels like a prelude to something else, which perhaps echoes the thin nature of the narrative. Not necessarily the best example of McEwan's work.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the hype., 30 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Dogs (Paperback)
Ian McEwan is the best thing since sliced bread or so the present day hype expects us to believe.
Synopsis of the book. Newly married woman comes across some big dogs whilst on her honeymoon (en france) - buys a cottage (en france) and in doing so annoys her husband - they split up and she dies whilst he grows old and goes a bit bonkers. Simple. Yes, it is.
Add some nice scenic descriptions, some nice vocabulary and an orphan. Bob's your uncle, you've got a best seller on your hands.
A bit like low fat food. Promises a lot, yet fails to satisfy.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not yet fully developed, but good., 10 July 2008
By 
R. Altman "Raphael Altman" (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Dogs (Paperback)
an early taste of the mcewan style, albeit not as full blown as some of the later works, but definitely one worth reading. the great mcewan themes already well in evidence and well worked. the interface of history and individual lives; the contrast and interweaving of the universal and the particular; the detailed observation of situations developing; the gradual unfolding of character and plot; the subtleties of attraction and repulsion within a couple's relationship; brilliant statements (in the last 10 pages as it happens) on the tragedy of war, and on the winding configurations of events that produce the details of our lives.
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Black Dogs
Black Dogs by Ian McEwan
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