Cover image for Understanding Ian McEwan
Understanding Ian McEwan
Malcolm, David, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Columbia : University of South Carolina Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
216 pages ; 19 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
PR6063.C4 Z78 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This is a discussion of the work of one of Britain's most highly regarded novelists and the winner of the 1998 Booker Prize. David Malcolm places Ian McEwan's work in the context of British literature's particular dynamism in the last decades of the 20th century. He also examines McEwan's relationship to feminism, concern with rationalism and science, use of moral perspective, and proclivity toward fragmentation.

Author Notes

David Malcolm is a professor of English literature at the University of Gdansk in Poland.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

According to the popular press, fictionist-playwright Ian McEwan is a "dark master" and his Amsterdam, winner of England's 1998 Booker Prize, is "the great British novel." That his work still seems to be little known in the US is regrettable, but Malcolm's concise, fascinating study of McEwan's literary career may rectify that neglect somewhat. Malcolm (Univ. of Gdansk, Poland) sees McEwan's oeuvre as characterized by gothic and macabre elements; cosmopolitanism viewed against the background of history and contemporaneous politics; different ways of representing women, in conjunction with his deep interest in the feminist movement; science and rationalism; a moral view point; a metafictional interest (literature or fiction taken as a subject for inquiry); and novelistic fragmentariness. The intriguing (some would say "twisted") thought processes that underlie McEwan's "fascination with taboo subjects" of unchecked abuse of others and shameless vulgarity of personal conduct also lead him into exciting realms of uncommon experience, as revealed in Malcolm's plot summaries. This book is strongly recommended for readers approaching McEwan's work for the first time. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. S. I. Bellman emeritus, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Table of Contents

Editor's Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Chapter 1 Understanding Ian McEwanp. 1
Chapter 2 The Short Stories: First Love, Last Rites and In between the Sheetsp. 20
Chapter 3 Fiction and Evil (I): The Cement Gardenp. 45
Chapter 4 Fiction and Evil (II): The Comfort of Strangersp. 66
Chapter 5 Change, Dystopia, and the Way Out: The Child in Timep. 88
Chapter 6 Brushes with History (I): The Innocentp. 110
Chapter 7 Brushes with History (II): Black Dogsp. 131
Chapter 8 Science and Fictions: Enduring Lovep. 155
Chapter 9 Other Works: Screenplays, the Oratorio, Children's Fiction, and Amsterdamp. 182
Notesp. 197
Bibliographyp. 207
Indexp. 211