7 May 2007

The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan

The nightmare of young children defending for themselves alone in 1970s Britain is imagined in this novel.

This is a short well-written tale of four children left alone after their mother's death. Their parents bequeathed them social isolation and ignorance. In the long hot summer of 1976 they attempt to live by themselves in their uncleared-up filth and incestuous psychological confusion. As with all McEwan’s novels there is a deeply sinister event; in this novel it is the encasement of their mother, after her death from cancer, in concrete in the basement of their house.

The story is narrated by the teenage boy of the household and is a powerful examination of the themes of adolescence.


The number of people viewing this post - now running into the hundreds - is a complete mystery to me. I read this book a few years ago, found it mildly of interest and made a few mediocre comments.

McEWAN, Ian - The Cement Garden, Vintage 2006 (first published 1978)


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