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on 3 November 2015
Short but, as usual with Ian McEwan, brilliantly written, this love story evokes the beginning of a time of great change in social attitudes and values. Set on the wedding night of two graduates from different backgrounds in 1962, with references back to the history of their relationship, it explores the conflict between the excitement of the unknown and the comfort of things familiar. The contrast between self-confidence and awkwardness was sensitively described and, as in other books by the same author, I was struck by his ability to empathise with the feelings of his main characters - there were certainly times when I was made to feel decidedly uncomfortable. An excellent read.
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on 21 October 2013
I chose this rating given that the author gets to develop a plot -apparently easy- with ability to describe hard and intimate situations and at the same time with caferul words to avoid to fall into the vulgarity of an erotic novel. The novel is a pure comedy -above all watched from our present time- but it is told from the point of view of the two protagonists, who don't think it is funny at all. The merit of the author lies in knowing how to use his writing in order to create distance and irony, without creating too much of either of them. His style manages to lead the plot in a brisk way and likewise in a delicate pace, using appropriately a lot of flashbacks before moving in the story. Of course, you can not stop of considering the time of the story and the social, political and cultural backgrounds in which the novel is narrated. It was some years later when did arrive some important facts: the explosion of The Beatles, the Mary Quant's mini-skirt, the 68 French revolution... all these events as a prelude of the coming sexual revolution.
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on 10 February 2018
My fav book ever, 166 pages of pure dark delight. Please read at least twice, the Dad thing is then very apparent after visit #2
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on 27 December 2008
I thought this might be a typical McEwan novel - good start, flimsy ending (apart from Atonement perhaps) but, happily, I was wrong. I am glad it wasn't a full blown book, it could have been a bit tedious, but the 'novella' length was perfect.

I finished reading it and thought 'Oh, that's sad' and it is a lesson in the 'do nothing strategy'. I also thought it seemed incredible that he could have written an entire novel(la) around one specific part of one event (won't spoil it for you).

Really enjoyed it - well worth a read and it won't take you long.
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on 11 September 2012
I may as well start this review stating I was disappointed with the book, I still gave it three stars but I expect more from McEwan. The prose is clean and moves forward at a good walking pace (not a fast paced page turner... not that I was expecting that). The writing is a little dull and I could have hoped for a little more painterly in the style. The characters were created well and felt real, but putting them on the brink of the 60's and showing their pre sexual revolution hang ups seemed a little heavy handed. I realise it was about the class barrier between the two lead characters, Edward and Florence, with Edward being lower middle class who gets electric guitar driven music and Florence who is upper middle class and doesn't get rock n roll so much that McEwan even made her a classical musician... Really, we can understand that someone might not like rock n roll from that time era; does she really have to epitomise the old guard? The plot which I have failed to even mention (because I suck at writing reviews) is the lead up to the first time the two married virgins have sex. It flashes back to their courting and has scenes after too. The exchange they have at the end of the book (trying not to ruin it for you) is fantastic, their actions perfect as well as the dialogue. If only the book would have ended there at that marvelous natural ending, it could have been an ambiguous beauty. Instead of this McEwan carries on summing up the rest of the life of a character, which in this humble reviewer's opinion diminished the previously mentioned exchange.
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on 30 January 2016
If you are not familiar with McEwan, you'd better start with another novel. This one is not his best and is not a typical representative of his work. However, it reads well and the plot is interesting.
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on 8 January 2017
One of my all time favourite reads. So poignant and so well observed and written.
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on 15 September 2013
Ian McEwan is one of my favourite writers, ever since reading the Cement Garden, I have loved his dense, perfect prose, his masterful handling of his material and the subject matter he has explored rigorously in the most subtle manner. I failed to find this book interesting, and though it is once again written with his breathtaking skill, I found it dull. Perhaps its sad that issues at the dawn of the so called sexual revolution seem dull or maybe this should be a short story because there is not enough to pad out a novella.
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on 13 January 2013
This is the first book I read by this author and I loved it, It is a reminder that you must always discuss all issues with your loved one, if they really are your loved one, discuss your expectations , fears, loves or risk losing them and facing the consequences of losing that one real love
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on 20 March 2015
Very well written as you would expect from McEwan. Evoked the period and principles of its time which was spot on. It tends to lean more towards a male perspective and I felt the female character wasn't given enough of her story at the end of the book. Quite a sad and thoughtful treatment overall.
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