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70 Reviews
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53 of 56 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
Fine
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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
(REAL NAME)   
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 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrid, 12 April 2012
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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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ewwww.... yucky. In a good way., 1 Mar. 2008
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This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
One thing you can rely on with Mr McEwan is that you get something different every time. It's hard to believe this book is by the same person who wrote A Child in Time, Black Dogs and - especially - Atonement.

The claustrophobic atmosphere of a filthy house in the middle of an unbearably hot summer is almost tangible throughout this book. Sometimes I could feel the sticky kitchen floor and smell the rotten food in the fridge. And as for our three key players, the children of this revolting home, they are the most unlikeable, weird bunch you could imagine. A little bit Lord of the Flies, a little bit Wasp Factory, this is not a chocolate box image of childhood, but a relentless dig at the underbelly of a very, very dysfunctional family. Like picking at a scab, you can't leave it alone until you know just to what depths these twighlight zone characters will plunge.

The point is well made. When kids grow up without love or affection, like flowers in a concrete garden, their natural inclination to love, family and bonding can get wildly out of kilter.

Not a pleasant read. But a good one.
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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
(REAL NAME)   
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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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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No idea what the fuss is about, 8 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Cement Garden (Vintage Blue) (Kindle Edition)
Saw this author being interviewed on the telly and enjoyed the interview, in which this was mentioned several times as being very good and a bit racy. Just seemed old fashioned and dull to me.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Cement Garden, 19 Jan. 2012
This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
An awful, awful story. Would not recommend to anyone. Focusing on a brother/sister incestual relationship, the book is written from the perspective of a teenage boy, who fantasises and spends alot of time masturbating over his sisters. Dreadful!
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrid book, 3 Dec. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cement Garden (Hardcover)
I thought this book had too much detail of the incest, I could not read this book again and wouldn't recomend any one else to ! I thought it was sick!!!!!!
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3 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars started well, lost it's way, 27 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cement Garden (Paperback)
after reading 'Enduring Love' by the same author, I was very optimistic when I purchased this book. It had me captivated for the first half of the book and then just seemed to drag on. The incestuous relationship he had with his sister was a good angle as it displayed a very strong conflict in the boys head, but the finalisation destroyed all that this was building up to, it just seemed like an easy way to end the book, and gave me the impression that McEwan was just acting out one of his boyhood fantasys (worrying). I was very dissapointed as it showed so much promise...
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