Ian McEwan - which one first?

(62 Posts)
AnonYonimousBird Sun 21-Apr-13 11:32:48

I'd really like to read one of his, not sure how I never have.

Which one would be a good one to start me off please?

TIA

NotALondoner Sun 21-Apr-13 11:40:41

Atonement? I loved that.

Really? I hated Atonement & it's put me off reading any others. I came on here to say don't bother!

tangledupinpoo Sun 21-Apr-13 12:37:09

I really enjoyed The Innocent, Black Dogs and A Child in Time. Not sure I could read A Child in Time now I have children though. (The story centres round a child disappearing in a supermarket.) But the ideas in it, the nature of time etc are great. I remember that about Black Dogs too. The Innocent is a clever thriller. On Chesil Beach is good too. I did like Atonement too.

The ones I didn't like so much were Amsterdam, Solar, Enduring Love and Saturday.

SirBoobAlot Sun 21-Apr-13 12:40:24

I can't stand his writing. I have read a few of his books, hoping that I just started with a bad one, but nope. They're all pretty poorly written. Shame, really, as the story lines are good.

PimpMyHippo Sun 21-Apr-13 12:42:29

None of them!

....in my humble opinion. ;)

tangledupinpoo Sun 21-Apr-13 12:46:20

Really, SirBoob? I love how he writes! What don't you like about it - not being at all snippy, just genuinely interested.

DuchessofMalfi Sun 21-Apr-13 13:47:06

Atonement's the only one of his novels I've read so far, and I loved it.

I'm planning to read On Chesil Beach next.

AnonYonimousBird Sun 21-Apr-13 14:17:28

I am being SO DENSE. I have read On Chesil Beach quite recently. blush

I did enjoy it, actually so need to select my second McEwan. He has a new one out, Sweet Tooth, which was in yesterday's Times which is what got me to thinking about him...

Atonement is on my TBR list! Is it really heavy?! Seems to divide opinions!

MamaMary Sun 21-Apr-13 14:21:46

Solar is my favourite. It's pretty heavy going at first but it's brill.

Didn't like Saturday so much.

I also liked Amsterdam.

highlandcoo Sun 21-Apr-13 14:22:20

I thought On Chesil Beach was excellent and also enjoyed Atonement, Saturday and Enduring Love. I agree with tangled about A child In Time .. it's a painful read but extremely well written.

Autumn12 Sun 21-Apr-13 14:23:27

I really want to like his books but he really overwrites IMO.

tumbletumble Sun 21-Apr-13 14:26:59

I loved Atonement - one of my favourite books.

Quite enjoyed Saturday.

Not that keen on On Chesil Beach.

Solar is on my to read list.

Ugh - none of them. I've read four I iirc (Atonement, Enduring Love, The Cement Garden and A Child In Time). The only one that I thought was okay was The Cement Garden.

louisianablue2000 Sun 21-Apr-13 14:31:50

Parts of Atonement are brilliant, the section in the hospital is some of the most memorable writing I've read. For me it's still my favourite Ian McEwan, I found Enduring Love unsatisfactory (but had been told by so many people it was fab that expectation was high!), didn't mind Saturday but it wore his research rather heavily I thought, The Innocent is not my kind of book (thriller) so didn't enjoy it, liked On Chesil Beach. I do like the way he writes so I think it depends on what the subject is for me.

interalia Mon 22-Apr-13 22:39:48

I loved Atonement. It's not heavy, exactly, but very moving. His early ones are really weird, The Cement Garden for instance - I felt grimy just reading it! Amsterdam is also very good.

CoteDAzur Tue 23-Apr-13 09:07:10

"I have read a few of his books, hoping that I just started with a bad one, but nope. They're all pretty poorly written."

So, this guy is basically one of the most acclaimed British writers ever, with nominations and awards falling on him left, right, and center like manna from the sky, but your professional opinion is that his books are... all pretty poorly written grin

I like your self-confidence, but dare say you are a bit wrong there smile

Minkypinky Tue 23-Apr-13 09:13:59

When I was 13 my English teacher leant me a copy of first love last rites. (no idea why!). It gave me nightmares for months. Having said that I love his books now, enduring love is probably my favourite.

I wasn't so keen on Saturday, but I love all his early books - the cement garden, a child in time etc, and his short stories.

I think he's such a good writer, and his books are all so different.

Minky's reminded me of the name of the short stories - first love, last rites. Brilliant.

UseHerName Tue 23-Apr-13 09:23:31

I agree with Boob actually - with the exception of A Child in Time. Mainly he can't write plausible women.

His female characters are woefully one-dimensional caricatures, and his plots sexist/misogynist. Chesil Beach was cringe worthy drivel, as was Amsterdam and Saturday.

Corygal Tue 23-Apr-13 12:51:14

First love last rites! His short stories and first publications. Brilliantly weird. If you want novels, try The Cement Garden.

Cote - you've told people off for saying that about Ian M before. I agree that his books are quite poorly written, mainly because they radiate a sense of smugness: that must be to do with his writing style. In the same way, Wolf Hall got lots of critical acclaim but I still maintain that it is not very well written - what some may see as idiosyncracies (or indeed, as genius) others may view as inadequacies, or at least irritations. That doesn't make either view right (or wrong).

CoteDAzur Tue 23-Apr-13 17:34:27

Who is "Ian M"?

You don't like his writing style because you feel he is smug, which is perfectly fine. It is a subjective opinion. You don't have to like everyone's writing style.

However, "poorly written" is an objective assessment and in the case of Ian McEwan, is just not correct.

Ian McEwan.

Poorly written is an opinion - there isn't a measure of writing quality, just like there isn't a measure of artistic merit for paintings. It HAS to be subjective.

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