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The Cement Garden by Ian Mcewan

The Cement Garden (original 1978; edition 1994)

by Ian Mcewan

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2,657682,250 (3.61)162
Title:The Cement Garden
Authors:Ian Mcewan
Info:Anchor (1994), Edition: 1st Vintage International ed, Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan (1978)

Recently added bymatt5, KittyBimble, camila16, eastlake_uk, nkearns4951, wasesist, Kelda, Gerard_Scott, private library
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» See also 162 mentions

English (56)  Dutch (4)  Finnish (3)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (68)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Later ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Later ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Later ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (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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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)

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