Book - 1999
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In the affairs of his dead wife, a British publisher discovers compromising pictures of the foreign secretary who was her lover. An opportunity for revenge on both the political and personal level.
Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, 1999
Edition: 1st Anchor Books ed
ISBN: 9780385494243
Branch Call Number: MCEWAN I
Characteristics: 193 p. ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

While going through his dead wife's effects, a British publisher discovers compromising pictures of one of her lovers, pictures that offer the opportunity for revenge. Winner of the Booker Prize.

"Two friends plot the downfall of a politician in this Booker-winning novella."

From the critics

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Nov 18, 2017

This tight little story simply ran along to its black humour conclusion. Molly Lane dies after battling a degenerative disease. Vernon Halliday, a newspaper editor and former lover of Molly, and another former lover, renowned composer Cline Linely, meet at her funeral and thus starts the runup to a conclusion we don't really see coming until almost the end. I found this very tightly written, and very focused and very descriptive at the same time. We definitely got a sense of who the characters are and how they felt about each other. Throughout I found myself grinning a bit at the humour woven into the whole thing. Great little read.

Aug 05, 2016

I love McEwan's writing. His stories often make me uncomfortable at some point but I'm compelled to plow through my feelings and take in the whole story. It's usually worth it.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

Despite receiving several nominations throughout the years, Ian McEwan has won the Man Booker prize only once, with his novel Amsterdam. This one, built primarily on tension and dry humor, reads more like a long short story than even a novella.

Nov 26, 2015

This may be my favorite book by Ian McEwan yet. The story built with a tension that increased as the pages turned.
The themes of loyalty, friendship and career are intermixed throughout. A wonderful and well-written story. Of the three of his books that I've read, this one is by far the darkest.
None of these characters is likable but they all exist in real life. That's the scary, tension-filled part.

Apr 11, 2010

I read three quarters of the book, and to be honest, I still had no idea what the book was about, but that didn't matter. While the plot reveals itself towards the end, and the whole book works up to it, the plot line is surprisingly interesting. There wasn't a point during the story when I was actually bored and wishing I didn't have to read through the 175 pages.

Such a refreshing style! I enjoyed not knowing what I was reading.

That being said, did George plan everything to happen this way, or was it all a coincidence that it worked out the way it did? I love the little quirk at the end. Also, I can't get past how Clive sees music: it's like a vivid adventure--he can see the assent up the mountain, the twist in the labyrinth, etc.--and all of this is conveyed through the music. I'd love to see music as a series of scenes, like in a movie (e.g., flight of the bumblebee.. what would water skiing sound like if it were transformed into notes on a page?).

My review does it no justice, and I'm sure not everyone will agree with my assessment of the novel, but it's a pleasant read I'm sure to recommend.

Mar 07, 2010

Another weak Booker. Well-written, but dry. Very british.

Dec 04, 2007

McEwan's best books -- The Child In Time, Enduring Love and Atonement -- have indelible scenes and remarkable story lines. Every McEwan book has its charms, but this one has fewer than most. Won the Booker Prize in 1998.


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