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The Child in Time by Ian McEwan
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The Child in Time (original 1987; edition 2005)

by Ian McEwan

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2,089414,543 (3.62)130
Member:Andrew_MC
Title:The Child in Time
Authors:Ian McEwan
Info:Lester & Orpen Dennys (2005), Edition: 0, Paperback
Collections:Your library
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Tags:English literature

Work details

The Child in Time by Ian McEwan (1987)

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English (34)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Polish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
This was a difficult novel to rate. McEwan does a good job getting inside the psyche of his characters, but the overall tone of the boo was depressing and there was never any real buildup to anything. The story takes the reader through the mental health issues of multiple characters, but you never really learn to love - or for me even sympathize - with any of them. I think McEwan is an outstanding writer, but this novel just didn't do it for me. I rated three instead of two stars because of the writing. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 28, 2018 |
As an author of children's books and expected to be knowledgable about childcare, Stephen Lewis participates by daydreaming through meetings of a government committee tasked with creating an official childcare handbook. At the time he is suffering from cataclysmic despondency following the abduction of his daughter. Each of the chapters open with an excerpt from the handbook, eventually printed without the authority of the committee, a risible document that combines a voguish modernity with Victorian severity.

McEwan examines many forms of the child, time, and responsibility: Stephen's desolation for the missing child; the missing time as she grows older; his friend Charles' return to childhood; his concern for a young homeless woman; and his mother's memory of choosing to have a child or termination.

McEwan's writing is superb. He is genius at providing the detail that will complete a picture in the mind of the reader. This is a book that will stay in the memory. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Apr 6, 2018 |
Excellent book for those who like to read between the lines ... and for those who don't for that matter. ( )
  ReneePaule | Jan 23, 2018 |
Personally I found The Child In Time a depressing read dealing as it does with the after effects of the unsolved case of a child abducted from a grocery store while she and her father were waiting in line to pay. The book starts two years after this event, but this is the shadow that hangs over Stephen ‘s life. His child gone, his marriage shattered, his career as a writer stalled, and his psyche totally caught up in the tragedy. I found my heart going out to this man as he first throws himself into the search for his daughter, then works on theories as to why she was taken, he feels that he should continue to buy birthday gifts for her as an ‘act of faith’ that someday she will be returned. Eventually when he mistakes a little girl for his daughter he realizes he needs to move on to other things so he sets himself a routine of tennis, instruction in Arabic and trying to write again but it really seems as if his time is mostly spent mindlessly watching television and daydreaming.

Through his daydreams and musings over his life, we learn of his own childhood, the courtship of his parents, his relationship with his wife, and the slipping into madness of his friend and former publisher all of which adds to Stephen’s own confusion and precarious mental state. The author uses this stream-of-consciousness in other scenes as well to build on the theme of childhood and the loss of innocence.

If the author’s objective was to leave his readers feeling uncomfortable, sad and disturbed then this beautifully written story is a great success. This was my first book by Ian McEwan and I can see that he is a brilliant writer but the subject matter of The Child in Time was too disheartening for me at this time. ( )
2 vote DeltaQueen50 | Jun 27, 2017 |
Ian McEwan takes difficult and complex situations and takes his readers through a story of how his characters deal with this. In The Child in Time the situation is the loss of a child, presumably through abduction. A dreadful thing to happen to any parents and it is not surprising that the two parents find this difficult to deal with. The story he tells is beautiful and well told and interesting. There were sections I re-read to really grasp them, particularly the story of his parents on their bicycles. A moving novel. ( )
  Tifi | Sep 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
A Child in Time is rather a silly novel. It can take a while to notice this because its brilliance and extraordinary intensity have a hypnotic effect. Like Ernst and Magritte, McEwen has the Surrealist knack of making the world gleam with a light that never was on land or sea. He can also be extremely funny.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Gabriele Annan (pay site) (Feb 4, 1988)
 

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385497520, Paperback)

The Child in Time opens with a harrowing event. Stephen Lewis, a successful author of children's books, takes his 3-year-old daughter on a routine Saturday morning trip to the supermarket. While waiting in line, his attention is distracted and his daughter is kidnapped. Just like that. From there, Lewis spirals into bereavement that has effects on his relationship with his wife, his psyche and time itself: "It was a wonder there could be so much movement, so much purpose, all the time. He himself had none." This beautifully haunting book won a 1987 Whitbread Prize.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:23 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The abduction of his only child destroys Stephen Lewis' marriage and painfully forces him to look back on his own childhood.

(summary from another edition)

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