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Customer Review

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Collection, 25 Aug. 2010
This review is from: In Between the Sheets (Paperback)
You can pretty much guess what this collection centres on from its title `In Between The Sheets' but rather than just a collection of stories based around sex and sexuality McEwan uses these themes to build a set of stories which are much more than that. `Reflections of a Kept Ape' is both a nod towards Darwin's views on evolution and also in a way looks at the ideas behind the Oedipus complex whist setting gorilla's in a house in the present day as neighbours of humans. The title story `In Between the Sheets' uses a young girl's sexual awakening to highlight the marriage breakdown of her parents. `Two Fragments: March 199-` starts with a slightly sexual theme, which it returns to later on, but is actually in fact about a dystopian future which McEwan was predicting could happen in the 1990's, this collection being published in 1978 and was a vision of London that I found quite harrowing yet most readable and quite fascinating.

Naturally in any collection there are some books which you instantly warm to and others you don't, in fact I think a collection in which you love every single story is a rare thing. Both `To and Fro' and `Psychopolis' I didn't really get and I think would need a re-read but I think that's more an issue with me as a reader and my understanding and what I took from them rather than them not being such good tales.

I was bowled over by two particular tales in this collection, bar the two mentioned in the paragraph above they all worked from me just two stood out particularly. `Dead As They Come' is a brilliant and comically dark tale of a man's obsession with a woman, only as you read on you realise the woman is not what you would first assume (I can almost guarantee its not what your guessing either) and leads to a melodramatic climax which has me gripped and starting the tale all over again.

The opening story `Pornography' (which I would have placed as the last tale because of its impact) is the tale of womanising O'Byrne and how he gets his comeuppance. In fact it's a rather feminist tale which I would direct any reader to read if they think McEwan is a male testosterone driven writer, which he can be on occasion I admit. That particular story is one that had a rather wince inducing (if you are a man) twist in its tail that I really wasn't expecting.

In fact I think I would direct both people who already love McEwan and haven't read this collection along with people who think they don't like McEwan to `In Between The Sheets'. This was his fifth fiction outing and I do like the darkness in his earlier work, and have taken `The Cement Garden' off the shelves for a re-read, and this is brimming with it. It also shows glimmers of where he took his writing afterwards. A very interesting collection indeed.
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Location: Manchester, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,995