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on 22 January 2014
I relished McEwan's writing style - he so understands the scale and breadth of human emotion. I hung onto this story but realised half way through that I was at all times under a tissue of sadness that I could not break free from. That is the story, a sad story though not without hope.
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VINE VOICEon 3 March 2014
This strange, rather disjointed novel is based on the disappearance of a three-year-old child, and I suppose I was expecting a straightforward narrative. Not so. The story, told from the viewpoint of the child's father Stephen, is more about the nature of childhood than about the search for a lost child (which takes up little of the novel). True, the sadness and the inevitable disintegration of the relationship between Stephen and his wife Julie are beautifully and authentically portrayed, but the narrative regularly strays into other areas.

There is Stephen's friend Charles, an ex-politician, who has retreated to the country and back into childhood, building a tree house and spending much of his time 'playing' in it. There is Stephen's own 'vision' of the past, in which he seems to witness his parents making the decision over whether to abort him. Elsewhere, Stephen, thinking he has glimpsed his missing daughter, enters a schoolroom, and suddenly becomes a small boy again. For me, none of this really hangs together. It's more like a series of separate pieces of writing, held together by the subject of childhood and the excerpts from the rather mysterious 'Authorised Childhood Handbook' which head each chapter.

The writing is brilliant, as always with this author, and the story somewhat redeemed by its wonderful ending. But this is not a coherent read, and while I hesitate to give a three star rating for a book which is so beautifully written, I didn't really enjoy it.
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on 7 September 2015
Obviously a very intellectual author but I found the content difficult to understand at times. Sombre theme but dealt with quite well.
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on 16 July 2013
This is a fantastic read, I have recommended to many friends. Such a fascinating concept explored and I have gone back to read a second time, it's a 'hairs standing up at the back of my neck' feeling.
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on 2 May 2002
Ian McEwan is by far my favourite author, not just for the tremendously skillful prose he crafts in each book, but for the places he takes the mind.
A a parent of young children including a 4 year old daughter, I was first horrified, then terrified, then left distraught. The ending sweetens things slightly. Having said all that the book is excellent.
It's like bungy jumping. You know you are going to hate it but you put yourself through it anyway and feel better about yourself when you've done it.
Ians books make me visit those dark corners which I would normally pretend weren't there. I've not met anybody who does this so well.
My only critism is that the book felt it lost it's way a bit with the main characters friend who regresses to childhood through stress.
As always you won't be able to put the book down, and will become an addict, like me, when you've read it.
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on 27 February 2001
The Child in Time is a vivid representation of the trauma of losing a child, and McEwan explores abstract concepts of time&language,using theoretical physics to legitimise his story. The book is to some extent political, as it criticises a 'Thatcherite', auhtoritarian regime, and forebodes about the future state of England. McEwan is fascinated with birth-like imagery, and presents children as the scientists of the future. As an intriguing and insightful novel, this book is superb, and recommended to everybody!
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on 1 February 2016
Just what you'd expect from Mr Mckewan, excellently written, great storyline and food for thought......
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on 11 September 2013
Not his best, but Ian McE always delivers something pretty special. I have never had a dull moment reading Ian MacEwan. One of our greatest living authors.
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on 10 October 2014
I took a while to get into this book but I enjoyed it and, as usual, it was well written.
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on 29 December 2013
two stories rolled into one and they kind of collide but yeah believable if odd.....he is a strange writer at times.
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