Patrick Oster
Patrick Oster asked:

I liked this one, but not as much as Amsterdam or Atonement. Anyone feel differently? FWIW, though, I am still thinking about the twist ending, so maybe I should think about 4 stars instead of 3.

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Thomas Litchford I had a few problems with the main character, but by the end everything made sense! I put it back on the shelf and kept thinking about it. Different McEwan's other work, but good. It's closest in feel to 'Saturday' because of the emphasis on structure.

*****SPOILERS AHEAD*******

TBH, I felt like Serena was behaving too much like a male fantasy. She's a beautiful woman who wants to sleep with every man she encounters: older men, awkward men, brilliant writers. She reads but needs to be educated in the good stuff. She's gifted at mathematics but doesn't get the really difficult concepts at the university level.

And then we finally see why that is: she's a fictional version of the 'real' Serena (whatever that means in a metafiction like this) written by a young male writer. She behaves like an oversexed 23-year-old man because she's created by one. Now, it may not totally dissipate the weird sense of something just being 'off' in the novel, but you understand where that feeling comes from.

Loved it!
Teresa I agree. I didn't buy the protagonist. She seemed vacuous, too passive, and therefore very frustrating to follow through this novel.
Jen Mactaggart Likewise, I've read most of Ian McEwan's novels and this I think was my least favourite. Leave the spy genre to William Boyd! Contrived and obvious but I still enjoyed because he is a compelling writer even when not at his best.
Sherry It's hard to say anything bad about Ian McEwan, but this book was just not my thing. The twist ending threw me for a loop a bit. It was clever, but seemed somehow out of place for him. …So not one of my favorites of his.
Mary I've read a number of his other books - Atonement, Amsterdam, Enduring Love, On Chesil Beach, and Saturday. I started out thinking this one was a snooze, but then it picked up speed. This also wasn't my favorite of McEwan's books but I liked the twist ending, and I also wonder if author Tom H is maybe loosely based on McEwan? I almost want to find some of his early work and compare it to the goofy story synopses woven into this book. Maybe this was a fun throwback for McEwan to write and look at his past work and make fun of himself, and his youthful arrogance. It is as much about the act of writing as it is about spying.
Adrienne Ian McEwan first timer here and I loved the twist! for me a 4* for sure.
Holly Hollyson
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Célia Loureiro I read Atonement, which always makes my heart tremble... On Chesil Beach is equality powerful and yet so small!
I am not falling in love with this one, and I decided that I have to go back to read his The Child in Time.
Dolly Haven't read Amsterdam, but I loved Atonement -- hated the characters but loved the book. Of the 5 Ian McEwan books I've read (The Children Act, Saturday, Atonement, Sweet Tooth, and Solar), I loved the first three best.
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