Dedicated to classics and hits.

Monday, December 05, 2016

The Cement Garden (1978) by Ian MacEwan


Book Review
The Cement Garden (1978)
 by Ian MacEwan

  The Cement Garden is another example of a classic that was only retrospectively awarded that status after the author obtained a critical and commercial audience with the success of a later work.  In this case, that later work is Amsterdam, which won the Booker in 1998.  He had another hit with Atonement, the movie version of which won an Oscar.   He continues to publish new titles, and his hits are airport book store mainstays.  His q rating among people who have actually purchased a book in the last twelve months is probably close to 100%.

  Which is all to say that The Cement Garden, a dry, sparse, horrific tale about three siblings who suffer the natural deaths of both parents within the space of a few months.  They are alone, without family, friends or even neighbors, since they occupy the single standing home in a development of abandoned, decaying, lots.   There is also an explicit incest theme which ends up playing a critical role in the denouement.   It's no wonder that The Cement Garden was not the hit that MacEwan needed, but it was his first novel, and so here we are.

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