The Cement Garden (Vintage Blue) Paperback – 5 Aug 2004
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'Darkly impressive' -- The Times
Re-jacketed in stunning new series style, this is the first novel from Booker prize-winning, Sunday Times-bestselling Ian McEwan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel very much represents McEwan's style and choice of subject matter which he has addressed throughout his writing. The Cement Garden follows the lives of four children after their father, and shortly after, their mother pass away, leaving the siblings to fend for themselves. As their lives begin to disintegrate and the children become further removed from society, their are passages reminiscent of 'Lord of the Flies' which are both shocking and saddening. I do not, however, wish to give the impression that this is a sentimental novel. McEwan writes, as he does in all his fiction, with ease and an unflinching eye when describing death and more disturbingly abnormal sexual relationships.
While The Cement Garden is a very dark novel, it is also a story about adolescence and the awkwarness of growing up especially in an unconventional household as this one. I found his descriptions of the interaction between the siblings to be both honest and raw but fundamentally troubling.
I found this novel extremely disturbing, but McEwan is such an intelligent and unique writer that he seems to create narratives which we are compelled to read.Read more ›
Despite being a darkly disturbing novel it somehow manages to grip the imagination and hold the reader's interest. The central story, in many ways so improbable, becomes plausible in the hands of such skilled writing. Ian McEwan portrays the indolence of youth and the hot summer days so vividly that you can hear the buzz of flies and feel the heat rising off the concrete.
In the end, it is easy to imagine how children in such a disturbingly distressing situation managed to slip through the safety net of the authorities.
Whether or not it is an 'enjoyable' read is a moot point but I would urge anyone who has not done so to read it for the sheer thought-provoking brilliance of the writing.
One of the strongest memories of the book is the way in which McEwan created the feeling of heat and intensity. As the plot thickens, you can almost feel the weather heating up adding to the sense of impending doom. If this isn't too overblown, it was almost like watching a thermometer rise and wondering if it will get to bursting point.
The title also suggests that the subject of incest is not to be solely focused on. The 'cement garden' evokes images of nature, perhaps innocence, being crushed by this hard and threatening innanimate object. It leaves things stuck in a particular time and place, perhaps like the caracters find themselves.
I don't see the problem with the subject matter. If issues cannot be addressed in the public domain, then democracy has failed. This book requires a deeper reading to discover that there is a wealth more than there appears to be on the surface.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a very haunting and moving novel. Ian McEwan writes very well about the disintegration of the family when four children are left parentless. Read morePublished 16 days ago by bibliophile
Good book and keeps you interested the whole way through - it's pretty short so you do get through it very quickly. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Cleora
Brilliantly descriptive although the topic is rather depraved. We read it for a book club and it inspired a lot of deep discussion with a broad range of opinions. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Anne
These books were presents. The recipient was very satisfied.Published 11 months ago by Kevin More Plumley