Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rebecca West Does Ian McEwan Justice

I've never understood why people revere Ian McEwan's novels. How gratifying, then, to come across this 1981 interview with Rebecca West, in which she skewers his novel, The Cement Garden:

Rebecca West: ... I do think modern novels are boring on the whole. Somebody told me I ought to read a wonderful thing about how a family of children buried Mum in a cellar under concrete and she began to smell. But that's the sole point of the story. Mum just smells. That's all that happens. It's not enough.

Interviewer: This is a new Ian McEwan, isn't it?
--From pp. 261-2 of The Paris Review Interviews, Vol. 1.(Philip Gourevitch, ed.)

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Martin said...

I really love McEwan when he's good, but Cement Garden and Comfort of Strangers are truly terrible. Amsterdam is also wildly overrated.

Benjamin Chambers said...

Wouldn't you know it? The only two books I've read by McEwan are Cement Garden and Amsterdam. I've never understood the esteem in which he's held - perhaps this explains why.