Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan - Book Review #131

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The Cement Garden
by Ian McEwan

In this tour de force of psychological unease--now a major motion picture starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Sinead Cusack--McEwan excavates the ruins of childhood and uncovers uncovers things that most adults have spent a lifetime forgetting--or denying."Possesses the suspense and chilling impact of Lord of the Flies."-- Washington Post Book World.

The Cement Garden is a tiny novella that was advertised to me as the book that will rock my world. I have to report that, unfortunately, it didn’t.

The idea of what would happen if you leave children alone without any adult supervision, isn’t new and wasn’t a novelty neither in 1978, when it first was published. As synopsis mentions, one of the most notorious books on this theme is Lord of the Flies, which, in my opinion, gives a much more powerful and sweeping study of this issue.

Another reason why The Cement Garden didn’t make a big impression on me, probably, is the style of Ian McEwan writing. He doesn’t make the subject matter sounds controversial, disgusting or revelatory. He tells it in the matter of fact tone, leaving nothing behind the scene, neither making a bigger deal of something that doesn’t deserve it. This doesn’t sound like a worse approach to the novel writing and probably at some other time I would confess that I prefer this style. However, it didn’t work for me in case of The Cement Garden. My best guess is, the reason it happened, because I accepted this universe, presented to me by McEwan as a normal, usual for these characters and when a character is in his conventional environment, I have no feeling neither towards him, no to his situation. It is when character is leaving his conventional atmosphere, the reader starting root for him, getting worried about him or shocked by his actions and decisions. And McEwan writing style made it for me as The Cement Garden characters never left their conventional environment.

I would recommend this book for people who like reading something that created a big turmoil in the society because of its theme, because as far as I heard, The Cement Garden certainly did this. For all you others, interested in the idea, but not reading something only because the size of the scandal it created, I recommend Lord of the Flies – read it, love it, same as I did.


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