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The Cement Garden by Ian Mcewan
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The Cement Garden (original 1978; edition 1994)

by Ian Mcewan

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2,628672,275 (3.62)161
Member:pdebolt
Title:The Cement Garden
Authors:Ian Mcewan
Info:Anchor (1994), Edition: 1st Vintage International ed, Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
Tags:Fiction

Work details

The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan (1978)

Recently added byprivate library, bookgeek78, RedBowlingBallRuth, Una-Delic, leftfork, lolo1977, BarkerWarren
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    Our Mothers House by Julian Gloag (FemmeNoiresque)
    FemmeNoiresque: The Cement Garden follows the same basic plot as Our Mother's House, with situations (children communing w/ hidden mother, a charming rogue male enters their lives & entrances one of the sisters, the neglected younger children suffer subverted into Ian McEwan's style. Our Mother's House is of a more heightened and gothic style. Like The Cement Garden, Our Mother's House was adapted into an underrated and unusual film with Dirk Bogarde, Pamela Franklin, Yootha Joyce and babies Phoebe Nicholls and Mark Lester.… (more)
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» See also 161 mentions

English (55)  Dutch (4)  Finnish (3)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
This is the story of Julie, Jack, Sue and Tom, four orphans who are trying to stay together. After their father dies, their mother gets sick, she sets up an account for them so they will be able to stay at home while she is in the hospital, however, she dies before she goes into the hospital, the children, thinking that they will be separated decide to bury their mother in the basement.

The narrator of this story is Jack who is a teenager, 14 years old. He tells the story very matter of factually, starting with:
I did not kill my father, but I sometimes felt I had helped him on his way. … He was a frail, irascible, obsessive man, with yellowish hands and face. I am only including the little story of his death to explain how my sisters and I came to have such a large quantity of cement at our disposal.
This ‘little story’ tells us rather effectively how the children felt about their father’s death. Their mother’s feelings are left unexplored in the rather self-centered way teenagers can have.

The children attempt to carry on as if nothing has happened. Julie takes over the role of mother to the rest, but she is not much more than a child herself. Each child copes with the loss of their mother in their own way. Isolated from others, the house apparently is in area where most of the other houses are empty (if I remember correctly) and so there are very few children around, the youngest Tom has a friend he plays with, the others appear to not have any friends. From the very beginning of the book Jacks describes a game I would say should be called ‘playing alien doctors’ with his sisters. While this doesn’t continue after the death of the mother, Jack describes Julie as beautiful and athletic, filling the account with sexual tension between the two. The children prove to be not very good at keeping their secret especially when Julie get a ‘bloke’ and he starts hanging around and asking questions.

The ending is expected and abrupt, and while some may say it leaves one hanging, we can draw on our own knowledge of the world and know what comes next. I found this to be a very compelling reading and a interesting account of a very dysfunctional family. ( )
  BellaFoxx | Jul 13, 2015 |
Living in a vacuum once their mother dies four children find their own way of surviving. With little contact from the outside world the group fragments, each coping with freedom and independence in their own way. How they interact with each other is explored in an edgy, pared back style. The setting of the old house perched alone in an abandoned housing estate echoes their isolation, forcing them to resolve their complicated sibling rivalry. ( )
  Robert3167 | Dec 13, 2014 |
I really like it over Atonement. It was concise and kafkaesque. He did use stream of consciousness but it fit the narrative style and the character thoroughly. There was no fillers, although it took me a while to accept the morbid elements and the incest sexual exploration the teenage narrator had but it was a good book on its own. But I felt empty while reading it. It felt distant and unrelatable. It was dry of emotions and despite the underlying twistedness in it, it simply isn't horrifying. I mean the creep level similar to dragging nails on a blackboard and you cringe even if it was imagery and you get nausea at the back of the throat. I get that from The Handmaid's Tale, The Road and some other books that was as controversial as this. It felt bland. ( )
  aoibhealfae | Jun 2, 2014 |
This book is a fairly easy read, but it's pretty disturbing. I more or less enjoyed it, but after Confederacy of Dunces I wanted something a little more lighthearted.

Most disturbing to me is the sexual tension between Julie and her brother... ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
Great wirting, interesting story, excellent characters... ( )
  Sanja_Sanjalica | Mar 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
The Cement Garden is in many ways a shocking book, morbid, full of repellent imagery—and irresistibly readable. It is also the work of a writer in full control of his materials.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Robert Towers (pay site) (Mar 8, 1979)
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian McEwanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Enzensberger, ChristianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hockney, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holt, Heleen tenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wagner, AstridEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I did not kill my father, but I sometimes felt I had helped him on his way.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679750185, Paperback)

In this tour de force of psychological unease--now a major motion picture starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Sinead Cusack--McEwan excavates the ruins of childhood and uncovers things that most adults have spent a lifetime forgetting--or denying. "Possesses the suspense and chilling impact of Lord of the Flies."--Washington Post Book World.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"In this tour de force of psychological unease - now a major motion picture starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Sinead Cusack - McEwan excavates the ruins of childhood and uncovers things that most adults have spent a lifetime forgetting - or denying."--From publisher's description… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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