Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ian McEwan on Not Being Understood by a Reader

Whereas in Black Dogs, the intellectual war is between equals, Joe Rose's logical mind clearly shows up that of his girlfriend, Clarissa [in the novel Enduring Love]. A Romantic scholar, she doubts his evidence that he is being stalked, and nearly ends up dead. McEwan remebers that not every reader accepted the point: "Poor Greg [McEwan's son] had to study Enduring Love in school. He had a female teacher. And he had to write an essay: Who was the moral center of the book? And I said to Greg, 'Well, I think Clarissa's got everything wrong.' He got a D. The teacher didn't care what I thought. She thought that Joe was too 'male' in his thinking. Well. I mean, I only wrote the damn thing."
--from the February 23, 2009 issue of The New Yorker, Daniel Zalewski's, "The Background Hum."

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Martin said...

What country was this school located in, that gives out Ds?

Benjamin Chambers said...

I wondered the same thing. Perhaps it was "translated" for an American audience, in the same way that the Harry Potter books were.

Martin said...

Actually, about an hour later I was reading that Mark Haddon book, and the narrator makes a reference to getting an A.... our conception of Britain's "otherness" is out of date.

Anonymous said...

The UK has always had A-E for A-level system (A-C is a good pass). Nothing new there.