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The Child in Timeby Ian McEwan
Winner of the 1987 Whitbread Award for Best Novel
Synopses & Reviews
Stephen Lewis, a successful writer of children's books, is confronted with the unthinkable: his only child, three-year-old Kate, is snatched from him in a supermarket. In one horrifying moment, Stephen must absorb the deadly realization that she is gone.
With extraordinary tenderness and insight, McEwan takes us in the dark territory of a marriage devastated by the loss of a child. Kate's absence sets Stephen and his wife, Julie, on separate paths. For Stephen, time seems to slow down, and ultimately, to turn on itself, to his own childhood. As Stephen struggles with his own grief, he also witnesses a descent into madness that is the result of a childhood never known.
McEwan explores in haunting and beautiful prose the complicated logic of time: the distorted time of panic, time as we experienced it in love in bereavement, and time as it is lived by children, for whom the present always seems infinite. Eloquent and passionate, the novel concludes in a triumphant scene of love and hope that gives full rein to the author's remarkable gifts.
"[F]ine, provocative....This is a beautifully rendered, very disturbing novel." Publishers Weekly
"Resonate[s] with psychological reality....
"[T]here are several fictional modes at work, ranging from a realistic account of wrenching personal loss to a satire on bureaucracy. Unfortunately these varying aspects undercut rather than reinforce one another, and the result is a muddle." Library Journal
"A death-defying story, inventive, eventful, and affirmative without being sentimental." Time
"Luminous, haunting, restrained...cuts to the core of human existence." Chicago Tribune
"A great pleasure to read... McEwan writes as if Dickens, Lawrence, and Woolf were in his bones... Funny and unsentimentally passionate." The Wall Street Journal
With extraordinary insight and tenderness, this 1987 Whitbread Award-winning novel takes readers into the dark territory of a marriage devastated by the loss of a child.
A spare yet evocative novel that explores the dark sides of parenting and humanity by an author compared to Dickens, Lawrence, and Woolf.
Stephen Lewis, a successful writer of children's books, is confronted with the unthinkable: his only child, three-year-old Kate, is snatched from him in a supermarket. In one horrifying moment that replays itself over the years that follow, Stephen realizes his daughter is gone.With extraordinary tenderness and insight, Booker Prize-winning author Ian McEwan takes us into the dark territory of a marriage devastated by the loss of a child. Kate's absence sets Stephen and his wife, Julie, on diverging paths as they each struggle with a grief that only seems to intensify with the passage of time. Eloquent and passionate, the novel concludes in a triumphant scene of love and hope that gives full rein to the author's remarkable gifts. The winner of the Whitbread Prize, The Child in Time is an astonishing novel by one of the finest writers of his generation.
About the Author
Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of more than ten books, including the novels The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize; and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award; as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets. He has also written screenplays, plays, television scripts, a children's book, and the libretto for an oratorio. He lives in London.
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