Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Cement Garden - Ian McEwan

the cement garden
ian mcewan
c. 1978
153 pages

After reading and completely loving Atonement, I felt compelled to try reading more Ian McEwan. I thought, perhaps I had found a new author where I needed to read their complete works. After reading this book I may have to think again.

This was my second attempt at The Cement Garden. I tried about six months ago and couldn't get past the first chapter. It just had no hold over me. This second time I was able to get into it a little more. It only took me about a week to read.

This is probably one of the most bizarre books I've ever read. Not that bizarre is necessarily bad. I knew going into it that this would be a slightly twisted book, but all the main elements: the dead mother in the trunk, Jack's feelings for his sister Julie, Tom's need to still be a baby, etc, were just so out there.

It's interesting to note that this book has often been compared to Lord of the Flies with it's theme of the behavior of children when they are completely left to their own devices. And you can definitely see the similarities. However in this book you have parents for probably the first half. It's true, the children had a fairly remote and isolated existence due in part to their parents, but they still had them. They had rules and regulations for the first half of this book and it's interesting to see how quickly they're dropped with the removal of adult figures.

An interesting read, though I wasn't always sure what I was supposed to be getting out of it.


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