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The Child In Time: Winner of the Whitbread Novel Award 1987 by [McEwan, Ian]
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The Child In Time: Winner of the Whitbread Novel Award 1987 Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Length: 258 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

The Child in Time opens with a harrowing event. Stephen Lewis, a successful author of children's books, takes his 3-year-old daughter on a routine Saturday morning trip to the supermarket. While waiting in line, his attention is distracted and his daughter is kidnapped. Just like that. From there, Lewis spirals into bereavement that has effects on his relationship with his wife, his psyche and time itself: "It was a wonder there could be so much movement, so much purpose, all the time. He himself had none." This beautifully haunting book won a 1987 Whitbread Prize.

Review

"A death-defying story, inventive, eventful, and affirmative without being sentimental." --Time"Luminous, haunting, restrained . . . cuts to the core of human existence." --Chicago Tribune"Resonates with psychological reality: the beautifully layered relationships, the tracing of the many-layered love between father and child, husband and wife. . . . As artfully conceived as it is poignantly realized." --The New York Times Book Review"A great pleasure to read. . . . McEwan writes as if Dickens, Lawrence, and Woolf were in his bones. . . . Funny and unsentimentally passionate." --The Wall Street Journal

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 741 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (19 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00354YA22
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,580 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the best books I have read, outstanding writer, this was a while ago now so I imagine most readers have read it, all McEwan books are first class and unforgettable reads.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought as a present
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book with its emotional intelligence and surprise ending.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not one of Ian McEwan's best books. The story line is muddled and very implausible.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am giving up on Ian McEwan - he is forever going "round and round the mulberry bush" and the underlying suggestion as to how clever he is is getting a bit tedious.
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By hfffoman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 May 2017
Format: Paperback
I very much liked his later novels, Enduring Love and Saturday, and this has something in common - the reflective style and the careful attention to small details, but it feels like he hasn't yet found out how to weave a literary thread out of a philosophical theme and make it work. The theme in this case is lost childhood. We have the lost kidnapped daughter, the beggar girl whose innocence is lost, the friend Charles Darke who lost his childhood and tries to regain it in later life, the nearly lost childhood of Stephen when his mother considered an abortion, the childcare manual unsympathetic to children, the prime minister who abuses his power like a spoiled child, and the final event in the book which I won't reveal.

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.
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Format: Paperback
the child in time is a good example of what mcewan is all about. not the place to go for a gripping page turner, but thoroughly absorbing in every stroke of the pen.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Stephen Lawes appears to be pretty well-heeled. His successes seem remarkable. He is a successful writer of children's books. He is acquainted with Charles Darke, who is apparently being groomed for a ministerial position in government. Via this connection, Stephen also sits on a Whitehall committee to examine policy options on childhood, children, education and related issues. He himself also seems to have the prime minister's ear. He has a wife, Julie, who loves him and beautiful little three-year-old daughter, Kate, whom he worships.

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?
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