not merely superfluous, but ridiculous
this post was originally published on my Goodreads account.
I’m still not sure what to think of this book. Beautifully written, and a devastating ending, which despite not being a surprise to me (saw the movie) kept all of its power–the novel actually seemed to work better when you know you’re heading toward a catastrophe. But I’m not sure what to make of the first section having chapters and subsequent sections having no chapters…was McEwan trying to make 1/4 of a Victorian “country house” book and then turn it into a more modern novel as you go on, finally turning into a post-modern piece with a slippery narrator in the last section? If so, I admit the distinctions McEwan makes between each section escape my ability to detect them–they all struck me as stylistically identical, even if the division of the fiction and the reader’s relationship to the narrator change slightly in each one. But the story itself is quite strong, and I think people who are skeptical of postmodernist literature will appreciate the way McEwan upends narrative convention in a way that serves the story, rather than in a way that deconstructs it. It doesn’t feel like a “major novel” somehow, though. It’s thin and cold and quick, and while it kept me reading, I don’t see myself thinking about it for too long after I put it down.