Unread, now read book 3 – The Cement Garden, Ian McEwan

The Cement Garden, Ian McEwan, book cover

I have slowed down a bit recently, I am currently on book four from my unread books on my bookshelf list – hopefully with the Christmas break coming I can get through quite a few more of them as having a prescribed reading list is already bothering me!

However, I am starting to think that rather than not having the time to read them the actual reason is that it’s because I know that I won’t enjoy them so I keep putting off reading them. Admittedly, I loved The Sense of an Ending, but I really didn’t like The Machine. And now I find myself striking out again, that’s two out of three!

I am sure that when The Cement Garden was published in 1978 it was shocking and confronting and was condemned by the ‘family’ newspapers and magazines for being ‘unnatural’, etc, etc. But coming to it in 2013, I just found it unpleasant and a bit boring. McEwan’s writing is good, I like his strong, sparse style, but his depiction of a socially isolated family turned in on itself, with the requisite incidences of abuse, incest and violence, which I am sure seemed so unnatural and sordid to the reader in 1978, just didn’t  engage me. Perhaps because it has been done so many times in recent years, maybe I have become dulled to this particular plot device. Possibly if I had read it 20 years ago, I would think differently…

Here’s hoping book number four works out!