Last night I was feeling quite ill. My head throbbed and my throat was sore. But with fifty pages left to go in The Child In Time I felt that I needed to sprint to the finish and knock out my fourth book of March. No such luck. I couldn’t concentrate and I had to sleep. March 31 slipped away before I could complete the book. But I’ve finished it this evening, and it’s a great way to kick off a new month of books. No longer in a rush, I no longer had to sprint to the finish, but this book still left me breathless.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read an Ian McEwan novel—at least a year—and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. Every time I go to the bookstore, I walk past McEwan’s novels to see a few I’ve not yet read. On my shelf sits an old copy of Black Dogs given to me as a gift a few years ago. I’ve never read it. After The Child In Time, though, Black Dogs is back in my consciousness and near the top of my to-read list.
McEwan’s writing is pure class. It’s lyrical, mellifluous, and wholly absorbing. The first McEwan book I read was Saturday. I was awed by his ability to collapse and expand narrative time; to explore the ins and outs of a day’s events without getting bogged down in their tedium; and to infuse the story of a day with the context of a lifetime.
The Child In Time left me with the same sense of awe. Spellbinding, intensely real, heartbreaking, and reassuring all at once. McEwan writes the most sympathetic of all characters. I get completely enveloped in their emotions, every little step across the spectrum; I celebrate with them, and I tumble into insanity right by their sides.
Ian McEwan hasn’t missed me, but I surely missed him—and I didn’t even know it. Generally, I like to wait for books to come out in paperback before I buy them. They’re cheaper and, in my opinion, easier to handle. But I seriously doubt that I’ll be able to resist Solar—especially after falling back in love with Ian McEwan’s writing.