Saturday, April 12, 2008


Awakening to McEwan

I want my book back.

I thought I was done with it. I thought I wanted to share it. But now, as my spouse immerses herself in Ian McEwan's Amsterdam, it's all I can do not to snatch it from her hands.

McEwan fills me with longing--to learn from the depth of his understanding of how we elude ourselves and our moral imperatives through our indulgence in our obsessions, our moment-to-moment decisions in that we tell ourselves is key to our survival. I find myself pumped up to become more truthful in my own scribbling, less inclined to hit the pleaser note which is my personal cross to bear.

When I read McEwan, I hold a hope that I will become more observant, more truthful. His writing imparts wakefulness. Alerted and refreshed, I want to go back and see just how he does all that.

I first stumbled on McEwan in (where else?) the library when I was looking for a good book on CD to serve as my bedtime story. I plucked Saturday from the shelf and took it home.

It wasn't much of a bedtime story. I couldn't fall asleep to such insight and skill. I listened for a couple of nights, then returned to the stacks for the print copy of the book. Why hadn't I heard of him before?

I have since made my way through the library's other holdings: Enduring Love, On Chesil Beach, and now, Amsterdam. For some reason I have been holding back on Atonement, of current movie fame. I guess it's next.

But not till I reread Amsterdam. Too, too good. It won the Man Booker Prize some years ago, Britain's equivalent to the Pulitzer and the National Book Award rolled into one.

I like to see people of his quality recognized. I like to share outstanding writers with my amazing spouse.

But just now, I want my book back.

While you're waiting for your book, please read "Fall On Your Knees" as I have begged you to do for months now.
You'll want to send me flowers for recommending it.
I love McEwan's work. He's incredibly lyrical. "Enduring Love" was the first of his books that I read. I've read all the others you've mentioned as well, including "Atonement", which was so much better than the film. And the film was terrific.

My suggestion is to put a leash on the book.
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