I’ve been enraptured with Ian McEwan since I discovered him last year (about twenty years after the rest of the world.) So I’m very glad he’s been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize with On Chesil Beach. It’s an excellent novel(la); one of the saddest I have ever read. I think it depicts the anxieties of newlyweds so well and shows the way the rest of one’s life hangs in the balance on one’s wedding night. Or at least the way it feels. I wonder what influence his own marriage breakdown had on his choice and treatment and themes.
Even if it wins, the travesty which will remain is that Atonement didn’t win the Booker seven years ago. It is far, far superior to Peter Carey’s The True History of the Kelly Gang – a good but fatuous and minor comic work. (And I say this as an Australian!)
I’m not alone in thinking that McEwan’s own Booker winner – Amsterdam – is one of his minor works. A very readable thriller with moments of intense insight spoilt by a contrived ending.