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The Child In Time: Winner of the Whitbread Novel Award 1987 Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
In my view the book fails in two ways. It feels like the examples of lost childhood are randomly encountered. They don't combine to mean anything, nor do they give us any insight into childhood. The only meaningful connection between the examples is that Charles Darke wrote the manual, but that is barely explored. Even the final event is predictable and slightly corny. At the end I felt it was all slightly pointless and unconvincing.
The other problem is the attempt to bring out the theme of childhood through an examination of time which never takes off. He makes the observation that time is different for children. Every adult knows that but the book has no insight to offer on the subject. An incident is described in which Stephen feels that time has slowed down. So what? We all have that feeling occasionally. He then talks to a physicist to get "the latest" understanding of time. Does he really think that the relativity of time has any connection to Stephen's experience? The author knows it doesn't and quickly moves on.Read more ›
mcewan is aware of the complexities of life, and through a linear medium is able to present a layered, textured, 3-dimensional portrayal of the situations under his attentive gaze, characterised by his micro-vision.
the child in the title is at once a central character, the nature of children and child rearing, and the child in all of us, as it comes and goes. similarly, the rest of the title refers to times in life and lifetimes, the particular time in our history, pure time in existence. (perhaps at the time of writing, 20 years younger, mcewan was more interested than he might be today, in questions of coincidence, serendipity, synchronicity and the like, laced with the mystical possibilities of the then new physics.) so the title itself is already a paradigm for the entire work and the method of working.
the writing is delightful; incisive and insightful, sympathetic and at times poetic.
an excellent introduction for newcomers and a treat for fans.
But then one day Kate is no longer there. On a trip to the shops with her father, there are events that take her out of her parents' lives. In her absence, Stephen continues to worship her, to see her walking along the street, in a school playground, perhaps everywhere he tries to look. Meanwhile life goes on, but for Stephen aspects of it begin to disintegrate. The child has stopped his time.
There follows, in Ian McEwan's novel, The Child In Time, an examination of childhood. In various guises, this biologically-fixed but socially-defined state is seen to influence and control the lives of the book's characters. The fact that children are sexually and physically immature human beings whose characteristics are still developing seems pretty immutable. But what is it that demands they should eat special foods from special menus? Is it essential that the experience of childhood should be always multi-coloured, perhaps as a preparation for the unending greyness of adulthood? And why, in the twenty-first century is it deemed that children should not work, when in the nineteenth it was considered desirable, perhaps even essential for everyone's greater well-being?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
McEwan triumphs again with this emotionally charged little story of a family torn apart by hideous circumstances involving their child and charts their journey to climatic ending.Published 5 months ago
Sometimes in your life, you have a strange and intricate dream, full of meaning, that never leaves you. This book is like that. It's a real knockout. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lynn W
Have enjoyed all of the Ian McEwans novels I have read. This one was just peculiar. It was good enough to keep me reading, but I honestly couldn't recommend it to anyone.Published 12 months ago by cheryl
The copy I received was heavily annotated.
But I don't care.
I read this at Uni, just wanted to re-read it.
It was fun reading the annotations.
Just what you'd expect from Mr Mckewan, excellently written, great storyline and food for thought......Published 16 months ago by J lelliott