First love, last rites  by Ian McEwan

This is the debut publication of Mr McEwan, a collection of ‘interesting’ short stories.

Well, well, well… where should we start?

Uncomfortable, that’s the first word that comes to mind, but then again his writing is never ‘cozy’ or feel good,  but this was a very uncomfortable read.

Incest, murder, rape, violence, perversity, dysfunctional families, broken down society.  Tense, lyrical, brooding, atmospheric, horrific, mundane and terrifying.  I’m not going into any specific story but trust me… they’re not for the faint hearted.

I had always heard that Ian McEwan was capable of all that and in all the books I’d read of him he always made me uneasy  (I’m talking of Enduring love and Chesil Beach for example)… but I still think he’s an absolute genius when it comes to writing.  Would I have read anything else of him if I’d got to these stories first? In all honesty probably not.

I closed the book after the last page and stared at the wall for ages… I just didn’t know what to think?  Why did he write them?  Was his aim simply to shock? to mark his entrance in the literary world?  I don’t know.  I am not really sure what was going on in the publishing world in the middle of the 70s… I’m sure that context has to be taken into consideration…

Have you read it?  What did you think?




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