First Love, Last Rites: Book Review

Topics: Ian McEwan, Attention, Boredom Pages: 2 (670 words) Published: December 18, 2012
“First Love, Last Rites” book review

“First Love, Last Rites”, a collection of Ian McEwan’s early works, was first published in 1975. It consists of 8 whacky stories which differs from each other yet share an essential dark characteristic altogether. The themes used include murder, rape and child abuse - bold topics for any era, but in some of these stories you can see the spark of "greatness" that is hidden between the lines. Some of the subject matter will undoubtedly offend and even upset me but I have to say, I was overwhelmed, by the unspeakable atmosphere this book creates as well as the author’s invidious talent.

In Homemade we meet a 14 year old boy who has been taught the facts of life by an older, less successful friend. Then, rather than spending a small sum of money for a private peep show, he agrees to play "House" with his 10 year old sister. For comic relief he included Cocker at the Theatre, a rehearsal of group sex where one couple crosses the line between acting and the real thing. And in Solid Geometry the narrator expresses his boredom with his wife and marriage. He is more interested in matters of the psyche. So when his wife's nagging him for attention, affection and conjugal bliss becomes too much for him, he prepares an intriguing way to find peace and quiet. Among 8 stories I love this most.

It’s set in an ordinary family of a pretty, young wife and a young man who is addicted to books and documents. The story started in a mediocre tone, in a first-person way. Again throwing himself in the piles of documents of his great grandfather, the narrator’s obviously enjoying himself by editing the old man’s diaries, along with the remote trophy lying silently as usual on the desk. Since when did he get used to ignoring the present of his lovely wife, and when did he become thoroughly neglectful of his lady’s everything? Perhaps it’s not that he didn’t love her anymore, it’s only because of time. Time tides away youth, landscapes and...
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