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The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan
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The Cement Garden (1978)

by Ian McEwan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,075802,826 (3.61)201
In the relentless summer heat, four abruptly orphaned children retreat into a shadowy, isolated world, and find their own strange and unsettling ways of fending for themselves.
  1. 60
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books show children suddenly left without controllers.
  2. 00
    Where the Lilies Bloom by Bill Cleaver (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Orphans home alone.
  3. 00
    The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane by Laird Koenig (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Orphans home alone.
  4. 00
    The Masters of the House by Robert Barnard (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Orphans alone in a house.
  5. 00
    Our Mother's House by Julian Gloag (FemmeNoiresque, SomeGuyInVirginia)
    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)
  6. 00
    De rode strik by Mensje van Keulen (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Kinderen, alleen in huis, nemen actie op een vergelijkbare manier
  7. 00
    Mother's Boys by Bernard Taylor (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Another story of a disintegrating family with incestuous overtones.
  8. 02
    We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (Monika_L)
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» See also 201 mentions

English (69)  Dutch (4)  Finnish (3)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (80)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
Flying through The Cement Garden, I would first advise against reading it just before bed, especially if some Gruyere had been nibbled that evening. Finishing the novella in the cold light of day, I find it remarkably creepy. McEwan achieves perfect pitch. I dare say he strikes closer to The Destructors by Greene than anything else. Many people cited Lord of the Flies as a cousin (no pun intended) but that harrowing tale is reductively feral whereas the trauma of Cement Garden and Graham's lads gone wild remain so coldly industrial.

I saw the film in the mid-90s and it bothered me. I found the prose a more intriguing paen. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
This book is creepy and uncomfortable to read, but good! ( )
  Katie80 | Oct 8, 2018 |
I get what McEwan was trying to do here - but I could not get past the incestual thoughts and actions. Just painful to read for me. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 28, 2018 |
Certainly an unusual story - bizarre in parts. On the other hand, much of it was an entirely believable description about how family members interact and what might happen in an isolated family which is suddenly deprived of its adults. It's only a short book and is comparatively easy reading so, although I was somewhat put off by the bizarre elements, there wasn't ever any doubt that I would read through to the end. I did wonder at times whether McEwan deliberately placed some elements in the story for their shock value. ( )
1 vote oldblack | Jan 4, 2017 |


What did I just read? ( )
  s.pando | Nov 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (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
McEwan, Ianprimary 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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