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Thursday, March 10, 2005


May not have picked up this book had the blurb not promised big things from the renowned McEwan, snooty pretender that I am.

( There was a Karen Anand cookery show on at Crossword at the same time on the occasion of International Women’s Day ( Ed—the irony is not lost on me !), so having sniffed around and satisfied myself that no goodies were to be “sampled” I settled down and began )

A collection of seven dark independent stories and one of his earlier works. The blurb faithfully and unabashedly describes these as “ transcripts of dreams or accurate maps of the tremor zones of the psyche” . Clearly an over the top and smarmy definition of these stories that do not really rise to any heights, nor do they instill interest in the shenanigans of the twisted, mauled and kinky protagonists ( Ed—Priggish ! )

There was no epiphany of realization, so if the author was hoping for the theatrical elements of shock and awe (Ed—Must you repeat that cur !) , he did not get ‘em. Since the theme of the book appears to be imaginative symbolism of a sexual nature, some of the stories may have actually have had the desired effect when they were published originally—in the seventies.

Pornography” is a yarn flogged to death, “ Reflections of a kept ape” is about the wan musings of a simian enchained in a romantic interlude with his mistress, “ Dead as they come” deals with a torrid affair that an intransigent arrogant mogul has with a mannequin, and so on.

There is decidedly a conscious endeavour to alarm, benumb and startle.
And am not sure that he pulled it off.

No, a 4.5 on 10 !

A word on a phenomenon—while it seems ineffably difficult to repeat a grand first marquee, in some fields , initial works fall afoul of the viewer’s lofty expectations.


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