Ian McEwan by Dominic Head

By Dominic Head

In this survey Ian McEwan emerges as a kind of infrequent writers whose works have acquired either renowned and important acclaim. His novels grace the bestseller lists, and he's good seemed by means of critics, either as a stylist and as a significant philosopher concerning the functionality and capacities of narrative fiction.

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His wife repudiates his preoccupation, his ‘crawling over the past like a fly on a turd’, while he is equally vituperative concerning her ‘junk-shop mysticism’ (FL, pp. 31, 30). This fantastic tale centres on the narrator’s discovery in his grandfather’s papers of the proof of a geometrical plane without a surface, which enables him to effect his wife’s disappearance by ‘folding her up’ in a position of yogic contortion, on the pretext of foreplay. This use of a scientific theory for fantastic fictional ends – in order to rein in the fantastic, as it were – points towards The Child in Time, where the novel’s entire structure hinges on the reader’s semicredulity about just such a process.

97. 40 I discuss this issue further, and in several chapters, in The Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Fiction, 1950–2000. 41 See Linda Hutcheon, The Politics of Postmodernism (London: Routledge, 1989), p. 141. 42 Mark Currie, Postmodern Narrative Theory (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998), p. 17. , pp. 17–18. 44 Jago Morrison, Contemporary Fiction (London: Routledge, 2003), p. 74. 45 David Lodge, Consciousness and the Novel (London: Secker and Warburg, 2002), pp. 2, 89. , pp. 10–11. , pp. 14–16.

2, 4, 5. David Malcolm, Understanding Ian McEwan (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002), pp. 6, 15–17. Dominic Head, The Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Fiction, 1950–2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 258. McEwan, ‘Mother Tongue’, p. 36. , ‘An Interview with Ian McEwan’, pp. 1, 3. , p. 4. For a lucid account of the literary presentation of Murdoch’s moral philosophy see Maria Antonaccio, ‘Form and Contingency in Iris Murdoch’s Ethics’, in Maria Antonaccio and William Schweiker, eds, Iris Murdoch and the Search for Human Goodness (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), pp.

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