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on 7 January 2016
Just brilliant.
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on 26 May 2001
Early McEwan, showing the mixture of familial and slightly gothic themes that have resonated through all of his subsequent novels.
McEwan really is a master story-teller, and this is a taut and spare little novel. Everything rings true and feels authentic. Without a word wasted he manages to perfectly capture the oppressive heat of a stifling summer, and the surly apathy of his adolescent narrator. Go read.
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on 28 June 2004
The Cement Garden is arguably a book about conspiracy, death, sex, responsibility, reflection and an exploration into all of the above. Ian McEwan tells of a journey about four youths who are forced to fend for themselves after the death of both their parents. Although they are bound to act as a team due to a dangerous secret, McEwan writes about their own individual struggles. There's Julie, who aspires to be the mother of the group. Tom, who takes the role of a needy young boy and inevitably a liability. Sue, the most static of the characters, who does nothing more than write down her feelings. And then there's Jack, the main Character, whose entire existence revolves around exploration, mainly into the aspect of death and sexual prowess.
The Cement Garden is an enjoyable read but lacked drive at certain parts. The beginning had a purpose, and so did the end, but the middle of the book needed some attention by the reader. All in all, I liked the book and am encouraged to read more books by Ian McEwan.
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on 8 December 2012
For some reason I had previously overlooked a couple of early novel by Ian McEwan, was motivated to go back to them after reading Sweet Tooth. In itself this is a good short book, an enjoyable read. It is a strange set up but the writing does make this, the characters and their motivations believable. It is also interesting to see the author developing his style.
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on 16 July 2013
I enjoyed reading this book but found it quite an effort to continue at times as the main character dipped in and out of past events. However, all became clear and as I have found with Ian's writing, a memorable plot containing a great deal of psychological exploration.
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on 5 September 2008
Ian McEwan is a wonderfully gifted writer and in this, his first novel, he displays his talent. He tells the story of a group of dysfuntional children surviving after the death of their parents. He certainly gets inside the head of Jack, the 15 year old protagonist, with all his doubts, selfishness and youthful insecurities. The writing is very skillful but it is never inspiring, entertaining or enjoyable. It is depressing, sinister and morbid. Although this book is well written I much preferred his other novels such as Atonement or Saturday.
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on 28 November 2011
I enjoyed reading this book. I bought it as I hear it was disturbing and I like that type of read. However, I did not think it was that disturbing. Probably just a little strange I would say. Only a short book but definitely worth a read.
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on 14 May 2010
Early McEwan. Interesting after his more rated later novels but not well crafted. little apparent awareness of literary traditions and seems to be part of a rather voyeuristic obsession that he has with other people's sex lives.
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on 31 December 2012
Ian McEwan has told another story well. I usually enjoy his books. I think Amzon should absorb the VAT on ebooks as they are getting away with not paying UK tax. THis would help to keep the costs down for Kindle owners
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on 1 December 2006
The death of the father and how the son feels for a certain responsibility of it is how the book begins. The son, Jack, goes on to illustrate how seemingly insignificant this is by what follows. You can feel the heat and hear the noises which break silences - yet the reader is not overwhelmed by dramatisation or any explanation in a progressively disturbing tale which is told as a skewed adolescent boy might tell it. The poignant although straightforward focus of the story perhaps gives it a very enchanting quality as cruel fate makes `The Cement Garden' a doubly apt title. Jack's position in the changing family hierarchy has consequences for himself and his siblings. A combination of naïve ignorance and regression is an unembellished way to describe a complex dynamic between family members. The reader may tell her/himself surely this cannot be happening, but incredulous though it is, it feels so real and that is what makes it so feasible.
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