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In Between The Sheets

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  2,501 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
The second collection of short stories.

Call them transcripts of dreams or deadly accurate maps of the tremor zones of the psyche, the seven stories in this collection engage and implicate us in the most fearful ways imaginable. A two-timing pornographer becomes an unwilling object in the fantasies of one of his victims. A jaded millionaire buys himself the perfect mistress
Paperback, 134 pages
Published 1997 by Vintage (first published May 1st 1977)
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What a disappointment. It's like McEwan (or his publisher) took all the outtakes from the exquisite, Somerset Maugham award-winning First Love, Last Rites and stuck them in their own collection to capitalize on it. There was none of the sick beauty of his other work, which I know, love, and look for. Each of these stories seemed to be afterthoughts, or B-sides, if you will, but bad B-sides. At least this collection was mercifully short.
Aug 30, 2008 brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
decided to plow through mcewan's body of work only to discover that i kinda loathe the early stuff. and while i don't particularly enjoy slamming a writer i admire i find it encouraging that the same guy who wrote this piece o' shit went on to write atonement and on chesil beach. gives all of us toiling away in secrecy and mediocrity some hope, eh?
In Between the Sheets is Ian McEwan's second short story collection, after First Love, Last Rites - both published early in his career, in 1975 and 1978, and both containing very dark and disturbing literary experiments.

Unfortunately, while First Love, Last Rites is a genuine collection of interesting, experimental stories, In Between the Sheets is more like a collection of outtakes from that volume. Both collections feature stories that are twisted and macabre, but while in First Love the macab
Jul 23, 2016 Steffi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es handelt sich um das letzte in deutschsprachiger Übersetzung vorliegende Buch von Ian McEwan, das ich noch nicht gelesen hatte. Das liegt daran, dass ich zwar großer McEwan-Fan bin, das Frühwerk mich aber nicht allzu sehr anspricht. Da geht es viel um sexuell verwirrte Pubertierende und allerhand Abgründe, dabei nicht schlecht geschrieben, aber oft nicht mein Fall. Diese Werke haben dem Autor den Spitznnamen Ian Macaber beschert und obwohl ich für Makaberes oft zu haben bin, hat mich insbesond ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I heard about this on the Books on the Nightstand podcast. Each of these stories pushes some kind of assumption, sex-related. I knew it was early McEwan so I was hoping for something more along the lines of The Comfort of Strangers but these are more focused on the concept in each story than the relationship between the characters. Quick read.
Aug 30, 2012 Faith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess I have a very different view from most people here. I enjoyed this book because I felt that it was very well crafted. As absurd as the premises of the stories were, McEwan manages to make them "believable" and yet intriguing through his description. Also, even though it is highly sensual, the stories and scenes were very well written. Such that it is tasteful and artistic, rather than how most romantic novels are "trashy" with those scenes. Case in point: fifty shades of grey; it's like ...more
Caleb Liu
Very very unsettling. McEwan manages to look at sex in a thoroughly unnerving and disturbing way while maintaining the veneer of normalcy in the stories. Just too weird for me.
Jan 27, 2015 Rafa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es fresco y divertido. Creo que me gustan más sus primeros libros que los actuales.
Sam K G
Dec 31, 2007 Sam K G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: short story connoisseurs/readers of McEwan
Shelves: fiction
This a collection of some of the early short stories of the acclaimed British writer Ian McEwan. They show a broad range of literary styles and thematic interests, but McEwan's characteristic prose style (very smoothly flowing sentences and ideas) and deep interest in sexuality is on beautiful display. He is a young writer in these stories, and they are missing some of the gravity that comes in his later works. This is no Atonement. But that is okay, and if you don't go in expecting something li ...more
Found myself deeply disturbed, and really, I am not easily so. This is either the highest compliment or the highest criticism, depending on what you want to take with you. In an attempt to be more objective, I'd say this is not McEwan's finest hour, though a couple of the stories are definitely worth reading.
Oct 21, 2007 Kristine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book written by Ian McEwan, which includes 7 very disturbing short stories. I was leary of it because of the title and table of contents, but decided to read anyway due to this self-imposed goal to get through all of Ian McEwan's books. Honestly, I didn't understand most of the stories. Some of the endings left me completely hanging with no clue about what just happened. Warning: there are some graphic words and images in most of the stories.
Dec 23, 2014 Andrea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I like some of his novels, despite some cheap POV tricks, but this collection is just navel gazing misogynistic self indulgent and ultimately boring stories.
Jun 08, 2015 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quirky and experimental near-erotica by a young writer who would soon become a masterful novelist. I enjoyed finding the flashes of brilliance in this slim volume of short stories.
In this short story collection, McEwan explores human relationships, the grotesque and the sensual lurking in the corners of our minds. Each of the stories engage the reader with a simple yet arresting prose that forces the reader to grapple with often unpleasant ideas and themes.

Each of the "freaks and monsters" that populate McEwan's England have a unsettling story to tell.
"Two Fragments" is perhaps one of the strongest ones in this collection, following a father struggling to take care of h
Some of my personal favourites from the collection are Reflections of a Kept Ape, and Dead as They Come. Reflections of a Kept Ape was, as the title suggests - about a pet ape, however, the interesting detail is that the story is told from the ape's perspective. He is reminiscing about his eight day sexual relationship with his owner. Although it is quite a strange concept, it works really well and isn't too explicit about it either.
On the other hand Dead as They Come is a very graphic novel but
Feb 16, 2009 Dennis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
This is Ian McEwan's second publication and, as with his first endeavor ("First Love, Last Rites"), is a collection of short stories.

Again, McEwan shows that the short story can be lifted to high art in the hands of a gifted writer and, regardless your opinion of him, most will affirm McEwan is a gifted writer.

These stories are diverse, odd, occasionally obtuse and, at all times, engaging.

I become more intrigued with McEwan with each work I read and look forward to delving into his more celebrat
Mary Paul
Jan 16, 2016 Mary Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ian’s clear and detatched tone treads the fine line between short stories and poetry in this collection of his work. Whichever side of the coin, these tales squirm their way around perversion and madness, weaving down dark corridors into unexpected twists. A cheating boyfriend is lured into a trap. A father wonders if his daughter’s friend is all she seems. A wealthy businessman finds the perfect mistress, leading him to hell itself. These characters are unafraid to tell their own stories, in pe ...more
Doug Slinn
Nov 10, 2015 Doug Slinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wonder if I am not as let down as others who wrote such venomous reviews because I have never read McEwan before? people complained that this book made them feel uncomfortable, but I believe that was the goal of the author, to play with the readers emotions, to shock and repulse. I personally found the book a bit predictable and other than the first story didn't really enjoy it very much, but the subject matter nonetheless is taboo enough and described in such Hitchcockian detail that we are l ...more
William Koon
McEwan writes very disturbing short fiction. Although not as bizarre as the FIrst Love collection, you can still marvel at the way his mind works and the multiple subjects and themes he considers. "In Between the Sheets" is probably the weirdest of all the stories. I hope he will give us another big,big novel like ATONEMENT soon.
Feb 03, 2008 G rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-ground
I'm a bit glad that McEwan went away from his "Macabre" moniker after his first four books, because while he writes sexy/creepy quite well (a British Mary Gaitskill), the stories sort of blended together for me. I think The Cement Garden is the best of early Ian.
May 19, 2015 Plch rated it liked it
Probably I prefer these ugly and 'perverted' '70s to the '70s described by McEwan in 'Sweet tooth'...
BTW: I read this short stories collection in translation many years ago and I have almost no memory of that first reading
Peg Ward
Jul 29, 2007 Peg Ward rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A bizarre yet readable group of short stories. Easy to read, yet not sure how memorable they are. I recommend it, but note that this was written by McEwan while still a young (thirties ;)) author. I would recommend comparing this book to some of his more recent works for his view on human nature.
Mar 24, 2008 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Sweet-and-sour, slightly twisted short stories about sex and relationships. I wouldn't want to read any of these stories as a novel, but they were great as vignettes. McEwan is amazing at blending the touching, funny, and unsettling.
Oct 07, 2016 Joshua rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
Second try. Still don't like this guy.
Feb 24, 2016 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the last couple short stories however the rest were insufferable
Liza Bolitzer
Aug 14, 2007 Liza Bolitzer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while but I remember this as being a very yummy collection.
Mar 31, 2015 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
3.5 really. Liked Reflections of a Kept Ape and loved Dead as They Come.
Dec 19, 2016 Camila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not his best.
May 26, 2013 Sonia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Of all the men, the English ones look at their crotches the most.
Mar 18, 2017 Jamie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-bowie-100
I only read this collection because David Bowie listed it as one of his favorite books. After read this volume, I can't see how this was possible. "Between the Sheets" reads like a cash-grab by publishers to cash in on McEwan's raised profile in the late 90s. It's distasteful that McEwan would be okay with this collection of malformed story fragments hitting shelves, money or not. Obviously, the author's abilities are better suited to a longer format.
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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
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“But soon I loved her completely and wished to possess her, own her, absorb her, eat her. I wanted her in my arms and in my bed, I longed she would open her legs to me” 11 likes
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