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Black Dogs

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,178 Ratings  ·  477 Reviews
In 1946, a young couple set off on their honeymoon.Fired by their ideals and passion for one another, they plan an idyllic holiday, only to encounter an experience of darkness so terrifying it alters their lives forever.In this highly praised national bestseller, Ian McEwan has written his most humane and compelling novel to date. ...more
Hardcover, 149 pages
Published October 27th 1992 by Knopf Canada (first published 1992)
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Jan 10, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1970-present, prose
I don't understand how anyone could dislike this. It's basically a novel about ideologies and philosophies and how they apply to human beings, not about them in general, and McEwan's prose is so precise and fabulous that reading this whole thing, a book where barely anything actually happens except for near the end, was incredibly involving and fascinating. The characters feel like genuine people, there is no political condescension or sloganeering, just thoughtful human debate. I'm also constan ...more
I want to love Ian McEwan based on Zadie Smith’s (hilarious) interview with him in the Believer book of Writers on Writing. Maybe Black Dogs wasn’t the place to start. It was interesting to see his life work paralleled against Roth’s in the New York Review of Books (Al Alvarez, July 19 2007), suggesting that McEwan, like Roth, came of age as a writer at a moment when sexuality had to be busted out and that he, like Roth, was in the vanguard of this. I was expecting something more original in his ...more
I quite liked this -- like it much more, in fact, than the reviews of my GR friends led me to expect I would. It is richly packed with ideas and character into what is almost only a novella in length, and I found the ending to be particularly strong and well prepared by what had gone before. The book is not flawless, there are technical weaknesses early on -- that is, the craftsmanship sometimes shows -- and there are passages where the 'debate' becomes a bit ham-handed..., but the fundamental i ...more
Jul 20, 2016 Will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, menace

A beautifully written novella but hollow in the centre, and leaving me dissatisfied at the end. It essentially revolves around a biography that the “author” Jeremy wants to write about his in-laws, June and Bernard. (To understand why they are so important to Jeremy, you need to read the introduction which is actually part of the novella itself and not, as I first thought, an autobiographical note on the real author’s life. Nice one, Ian).

June and Bernard get married just after WW2 but on their
Very disappointing, and yet not a dreadful book either (I've read five other McEwan's, all 4* or 5*).

The narrator is preparing the memoirs of his dying mother-in-law and particularly wanting details of a terrifying encounter with black dogs more than 40 years ago that changed the direction of her life, and therefore that of her husband and children.

Jeremy describes his own childhood, contrasting it with that of his wife, and tells of trips to the care home to talk to his mother-in-law, recountin
Jul 10, 2014 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ?????
Recommended to Mark by: No-one for definite so no-one I can actually blame
This was a really something and nothing book.

I read it a few months ago and normally even confused or disjointed novels look clearer to me from a distance. Rather like seeing a landscape with a fuller perspective and you can catch the beauty of the overall effect, the roll of the hills, the gathering of the woodland, the undulations of the streams which you miss if you are too close. It is only when you step out of the immediacy of the thing that you see its meaning, its purpose.

This hasn't hap
Friederike Knabe
"Ever since I lost mine in a road accident when I was eight, I have had my eye on other people's parents..." Jeremy, first person narrator in Ian McEwan's BLACK DOGS, finds what he is searching for in the parents of his wife Jenny, June and Bernard Tremaine. Placing the exploration of his in-laws' complicated relationship over five decades at the story's core around which the philosophical, spiritual and moral themes are continually gyrating, McEwan masterfully dissects the private sphere within ...more
The introduction to this book blew me away.

It sometimes so happens that I start reading a book without really thinking about it. For the first 5, 10 pages, I don't take it "seriously", if you will. I think it's sort of a professional flaw, after reading so many books, I know from the very first one or two pages, how many more I can afford to not attentively read. Usually, that happens when you don't have too many characters and so there are not many introductions to be made.

When I read somethi
Aric Cushing
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this. An incredibly satisfying quick read, accumulating in the powerful image (both symbolically and literally) for the narrator's mother-in-law at the end of the novel, which is the title of the book. I was also shocked to find a few people didn't like it. This book is part memoir, part fiction, and at the same time an examination of explosions of violence.
Paul Bryant
Jan 07, 2010 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
He tries to meditate upon profound themes in a short span of 174 pages and he ends up being tiresomely symbolic and a real windbag too :

"But the next day, and the day after, and on all the succeeding days, they never set foot in the metaphorical landscape of their future. The next day they turned back. They never descended the Gorge de Vis and walked by the mysterious raised canal that disappears into the rock, never crossed the river by the medieval bridge or climbed up to cross the Causse de B
May 20, 2010 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another McEwan book about people who love each other but somehow fail to stay together. A theme he does well.

Here the people who love each other begin their marriage as idealists, British communists with ambitions to change the world. The husband remains political, dedicated to various causes even after he abandons communism. The wife has an experience with black dogs on her honeymoon, which sends her on a quest for spiritual truth. The black dogs and other scenes of danger add an unexpected ele
Bob Mustin
Mar 07, 2013 Bob Mustin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I still find it odd that some (if not most) people will never re-read a book. I've just re-read this one because it was my first McEwan and I was so unfamiliar with his odd story structure that the essence of the book didn’t stay with me. But that was something like ten years ago. I like to think I’ve grown as both reader and writer in that time, so I knew the book would speak volumes to me now.

It does. But given that you might not have read it, a little something about the storyline.

English c
Mar 30, 2013 Simona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dopo ormai 3 libri letti ("Espiazione", "Bambini del tempo", "Miele", anche se l'ho amato in misura minore rispetto ai precedenti), posso dire che con McEwan è ormai amore puro.
Lo stesso amore che, purtroppo, non ha potuto provare Jeremy, che, in seguito alla morte dei genitori avvenuta quando aveva solo otto anni, cerca quell'amore vero e naturale che esiste tra una madre e un figlio e che alla fine troverà nelle figure di June e Bernard, i suoceri della moglie Jenny.
In un viaggio che si snod
Marco Tamborrino
Domani mi sarò già dimenticato di cosa parla.
Aug 24, 2009 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 31, 2012 Ginny_1807 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanzi, gb
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Letto in inglese.
Un racconto lungo sulle dinamiche di un matrimonio complesso, un rapporto a due che nasce su una base comune d'attrazione e di fede politica, ma che si disgrega dopo un'esperienza toccante, che allontana completamente le visioni di marito e moglie, incapaci di rimanere insieme, ma anche di separarsi definitivamente. Il tutto viene osservato dall'occhio attento del genero, orfano fin da bambino, che trova nell'interesse verso i genitori della moglie una sorta di surrogato affetti
Rachelle Urist
Aug 15, 2010 Rachelle Urist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anything Ian McEwan writes is worth reading. This book, BLACK DOGS, is arresting not only for the masterful storytelling but for the fascinating dialogue between a spiritualist and a skeptical rationalist. The debaters are married, but long estranged. Their mutual embrace of communism had cemented their union. When she begins to see signs of evil (the black dogs), of the metaphysical, their relationship begins to unravel. The creatures she sees (real? imagined? what about the bite marks on her r ...more
Mar 09, 2010 Maggie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would be 3.5 stars if possible. I forgot how well he writes. Even if I usually find him/his characters pretentious and unrelatable. There were those moments in this book as well, but I resonated too closely and personally with the classic Rational vs Spiriutal, Good vs Evil, White vs Black - vs Gray inner conflicts of the soul. What do we really really wish for - what "should be" , versus what really is, and how we reconcile the two. I like how McEwan's protagonist/storytelling device, Jeremy, d ...more
Srikanth Mantravadi
Black Dogs confirms that McEwan was at his formidable best in his early books than in his later works. The themes are peculiar, complicated and even unpleasant. Black Dogs is an odd book. Unlike his macabre novels or stories there is no gradual escalation of psychological violence. It is a quiet book and ends on a quieter note. It is infinitely thought provoking especially when touching upon beliefs (vis-a-vis science), human experiences and the subtle evocation of post-war atmosphere.
I will clo
Hall's Bookshop
Dec 23, 2015 Hall's Bookshop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ben

I like my reviews short - I find haiku loquacious.
Jul 17, 2015 Hakan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McEwan bence insan doğasının karanlık yönlerini en iyi işleyen günümüz yazarlarından. Henüz okumadığım birkaç kitabından biriydi Black Dogs. İkinci Dünya Savaşının hemen sonrası ile Berlin Duvarının yıkılışı zaman dilimlerinde, bir İngiliz çiftin, yaşadıkları travmatik bir olay sonrası siyasi görüş, dini inanç ve giderek duygusal olarak ayrı düşmeleri ekseninde, insanın içindeki kötülüğü ve ideolojilerin insanlığa ne ölçüde çare olduğunu sorgulayan çarpıcı bir roman.

Berlin kısmında, duvarın yık
Петър Панчев
Живот на убежденията
Цялото ревю тук:

Разбрах, че не мога да приема присърце стилът на писане на Иън Макюън, но поне се убедих, че от подобен стил може да произлязат много добри неща. Не го познавах като автор, преди да прочета тази книга, не бях наясно с разбиранията му, начинът му на изразяване и изобщо историите, които го вълнуват. Сравнително кратката „Черните кучета“ („Колибри“, 2015, с превод на Огняна Иванова) ми напомни за онези романи, които не сл
Aug 04, 2014 Dina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-recently
While Ian McEwan continues to be one of my favorite authors, his book 'Black Dogs' was not my favorite book of his.

The title apparently comes from the name that Winston Churchill bestowed on his depressions. As used in this book it actually seemed to signify something more evil and irrational, "civilization's worst moods." McEwan applied this metaphor into a meditation on Europe's past and future.
McEwan used a fictional family (Bernard and June Tremaine) to demonstrate the impact time past has
Stephanie Sun
I was so incredibly conscious that I was reading an Ian McEwan novel the whole time, but I still liked it.
Dani Schechtel
Leída después de leer (y mientras leía) poesía de Borges y de Whitman, esta obra en prosa me resultó demasiado larga y con palabras de más. Prestando atención a la elección de vocabulario y buscando juego creativos del lenguaje, leí este libro con constante decepción. Si bien algunas cuestiones familiares (la relación entre la pareja y sus diferencias) y de memoria (todo lo referente a la guerra mundial) me llamaron la atención, además de que un poco me interpeló ya que es autobiográfica, en gen ...more
Oct 06, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this 3 stars yesterday, but as it's settled, I'm more and more taken with Black Dogs. What a writer! What a story! I'm still thinking about a lot of the passages and am bumping up my rating. My original review is below:

Once again, I'm incredibly impressed by Ian McEwan's writing and his ability to transport the reader so fully into a time and place that isn't at all familiar. That being said, I don't think this is a top McEwan for me-- it lacked a spark or something resembling joy but I c
Christian Paula
Feb 29, 2016 Christian Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastically weird and preachy novel. A story of an estranged marriage and what could possibly, or not, have come between them. Set against the backdrop of World War 2 and the Cold War, McEwan pits two different ideologies against one another and how, even within a marriage, memory and personal events can occur independent of that union. There's no ultimate message, but I loved thinking about the larger themes and enjoyed how June and Bernard stuck with their own views, despite their fai ...more
Ryan Williams
Apr 09, 2016 Ryan Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Black Dogs follows on smoothly from McEwan’s previous novel, The Innocent. At the end of the latter, the hero, now an elderly man, takes a final look at the Berlin Wall. At the start of Black Dogs, the hero, a writer named Jeremy, flies to Berlin to see it fall, and with it everything it stood for. He imagines he is seeing the break of a new dawn. There is a commotion: at Checkpoint Charlie a group of Neo-Nazi thugs set upon a Turkish immigrant, while well-heeled passers-by smile with approval. ...more
Not one of my favorites from Ian McEwan, although as I love a few of them, that is likely a compliment... I only found this to only be alright. I felt I only partially knew the characters; their stories were only partially told.

The title refers to what the main character's mother-in-law saw as a symbol of all that was bad & wrong in the world; in the end, it was what changed her life forever. She became a different person, becoming religious, etcetera. Supposedly they were once used by fore
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Ian McEwan was born on 21 June 1948 in Aldershot, England. He studied at the University of Sussex, where he received a BA degree in English Literature in 1970. He received his MA degree in English Literature at the University of East Anglia.

McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last
More about Ian McEwan...

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“It is photography itself that creates the illusion of innocence. Its ironies of frozen narrative lend to its subjects an apparent unawareness that they will change or die. It is the future they are innocent of. Fifty years on we look at them with the godly knowledge of how they turne dout after all - who they married, the date of their death - with no thought for who will one day be holding photographs of us.” 90 likes
“These were the months that shaped us.behind all our frustrations over all these years has been the wish to get back to those happy days.Once we began to see the world differently we could feel time running out on us and we were impatient with each other.Every disagreement was an interruption of what we knew was possible-and soon there was only interruption.And in the end time did run out,but memories are still there,accusing us,and we still can't let each other alone.” 4 likes
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