Books

Nutshell

Ian McEwan

**The Number One Sunday Times bestseller**

A Daily Telegraph / Guardian / Irish Times / Spectator / Sunday Times / The Times Book of the Year

Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She's still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she's with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb.

Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.

The Children Act

Ian McEwan

A brilliant, emotionally wrenching new novel from the author of Atonement and Amsterdam.

Fiona Maye, a leading High Court judge, renowned for her fierce intelligence and sensitivity is called on to try an urgent case. For religious reasons, a seventeen-year-old boy is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life. Time is running out.

She visits the boy in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. But it is Fiona who must ultimately decide whether he lives or dies and her judgement will have momentous consequences for them both.

Atonement

Ian McEwan (and others)

On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl's imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.

"From this new and intimate perspective, she learned a simple, obvious thing she had always known, and everyone knew; that a person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn, not easily mended.”

Sweet Tooth

Ian McEwan

The year is 1972, the Cold War is far from over and Serena Frome, in her final year at Cambridge, is being groomed for MI5. Sent on Operation Sweet Tooth – a highly secret undercover mission – she meets Tom Haley, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? And who is inventing whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage – trust no one.

Solar

Ian McEwan

Michael Beard is a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. A compulsive womaniser, Beard finds his fifth marriage floundering. But this time it is different: his wife is having the affair, and he is still in love with her. When Beard's professional and personal worlds collide in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself for Beard to extricate himself from his marital mess, reinvigorate his career and save the world from environmental disaster.

For You

Ian McEwan

Charles Frieth, pre-eminent composer, conductor and prodigious womaniser, is preparing for a performance of one of his early works, and the world premiere of Demonic Aubade. Obstinate and myopic, he is oblivious to the growing turmoil around him; his wife's poor health and sadness; the exhausted efforts of his secretary, and the destructive passion of his housekeeper, Maria.

As the first performance draws near, the maestro is suddenly awoken to the chaos, and as Charles struggles to regain control of his life, a terrible tragedy begins to unfold.

On Chesil Beach

Ian McEwan

It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come and, unbeknownst to them both, the events of the evening will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Atonement

Ian McEwan

On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge.

By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl's imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.

Saturday

Ian McEwan

Saturday, February 15, 2003. Henry Perowne, a successful neurosurgeon, stands at his bedroom window before dawn and watches a plane – ablaze with fire like a meteor – arcing across the London sky. Over the course of the following day, unease gathers about Perowne, as he moves amongst hundreds of thousands of anti-war protestors in the post-9/11 streets. A minor car accident brings him into confrontation with Baxter, a fidgety, aggressive man, who to Perowne’s professional eye appears to be profoundly unwell. But it is not until Baxter makes a sudden appearance at the Perowne family home that Henry’s earlier fears seem about to be realised.

The Wall Jumper

Peter Schneider (and others)

Berlin before the fall of the Wall is a city divided, yet its ordinary residents find ways to live and survive on both sides. There is Robert, teller of barroom anecdotes over beer and vodka, adjusting to a new life in the west; Pommerer, trying to outwit the system in the east; the unnamed narrator, who 'escapes' back-and-forth to collect stories; his beguiling, exiled lover Lena; the three boys who defect to watch Hollywood films; and the man who leaps across the Wall again and again - simply because he cannot help himself.

All are, in their different ways, wall jumpers, trying to lose themselves but still trapped wherever they go. Ultimately, the walls inside their heads prove to be more powerful than any man-made barrier ...

Enduring Love

Ian McEwan

One windy spring day in the Chilterns, Joe Rose's calm, organized life is shattered by a ballooning accident. The afternoon, Rose reflects, could have ended in mere tragedy, but for his brief meeting with Jed Parry. Unknown to Rose, something passes between them - something that gives birth in Parry to an obsession so powerful that it will test to the limits Rose's beloved scientific rationalism, threaten the love of his wife Clarissa and drive him to the brink of murder and madness.

Rose Blanche

Ian McEwan (and others)

Rose Blanche was the name of a group of young German citizens who, at their peril, protested against the war. Like them, Rose observes all the changes going on around her which others choose to ignore. She watches as the streets of her small German town fill with soldiers. One day she sees a little boy escaping from the back of a truck, only to be captured by the mayor and shoved back into it. Rose follows the truck to a desolate place out of town, where she discovers many other children, staring hungrily from behind an electric barbed wire fence. She starts bringing the children food, instinctively sensing the need for secrecy, even with her mother. Until the tide of the war turns and soldiers in different uniforms stream in from the East, and Rose and the imprisoned children disappear for ever . . .

Amsterdam

Ian McEwan

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 1998

Two old friends – Cline Linley and Vernon Halliday – meet at the funeral of gorgeous, witty Molly Lane. Both men had been Molly’s lovers years before their dazzling success; Clive is Britain’s most eminent modern composer and Vernon is the editor of the respected broadsheet, The Judge. In the weeks that follow, Clive and Vernon’s lives become bound together in ways neither could have imagined. Two dubious moral decisions and a pact made in extremis lead them both to the heart of Amsterdam.

Black Dogs

Ian McEwan

In 1946, June and Bernard set off on their honeymoon. Fired by their ideals and passion for one another, they had planned an idyllic holiday, but in France they witness an event that alters the course of their lives entirely. Forty years on, their son-in-law is trying to uncover the cause of their estrangement and is led back to this moment on honeymoon and an experience of such darkness it was to wrench the couple apart.

The Innocent

Ian McEwan

Into a Berlin wrenched between East and West, comes twenty-five-year-old Leonard Marnham, assigned to a British-American surveillance team. Though only a pawn in an international plot, Leonard uses his secret work to escape the bonds of his ordinary life. The promise of his new life begins to be fulfilled as Leonard becomes a crucial part of the surveillance team, while simultaneously being initiated into a new world of love and sex by Maria, a beautiful young German woman. It is a promise that turns to horror in the course of one terrible evening – a night when Leonard Marnham learns just how much of his innocence he's willing to shed.

The Comfort Of Strangers

Ian McEwan

Colin and Mary are a couple whose intimacy knows no bounds. Away on a holiday together in a nameless city, they get lost one evening in a labyrinth of streets and canals. They happen upon Robert, a stranger with a dark history, who takes them to a bar and ushers them down into a subterranean land of violence and obsession.

The Child In Time

Ian McEwan

Now a major BBC drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch

‘Only Ian McEwan could write about loss with such telling honesty’ Benedict Cumberbatch

On a routine trip to the supermarket with his daughter one Saturday morning, Stephen Lewis, a well-known writer of children’s books, turns his back momentarily. When he looks around again, his child is gone. In a single moment, everything is changed. The kidnapping has a devastating effect on Stephen’s life and marriage. Memories and the present become inseparable – as Stephen gets lost in daydreams of the past – and time bends back on itself, dragging Stephen’s own childhood back into the present.

The Cement Garden

Ian McEwan

In the arid summer heat, four children – Jack, Julie, Sue and Tom – find themselves abruptly orphaned. All the routines of childhood are cast aside as the children adapt to a now parentless world. Alone in the house together, the children’s lives twist into something unrecognisable as the outside begins to bear down on them.

First Love, Last Rites

Ian McEwan

The fortieth anniversary edition of Ian McEwan's first book, now with an introduction from the author

Forty years on from first publication, these stories display McEwan’s dazzling early talent. Taut, brooding and densely atmospheric, they are stories of sex and loneliness, adolescence and incest, love and murder, and they linger in the mind long after they are finished.

This special edition includes a piece by the author on how he came to write First Love, Last Rites and rare archive material including manuscript pages, early publicity material and the cover of the first edition.

In Between the Sheets

Ian McEwan

A two-timing pornographer becomes the unwilling object of one of his victim's vengeful fantasies. A millionaire buys himself the perfect mistress – passive, yet beautiful – but the union soon becomes a nightmare of jealousy and despair. And an ape reflects on the relationship with a young female writer, mourning their fading love and musing on the fateful deceptions of art. In these seven stories of dream-like lucidity, the wasteland of the human psyche is mapped with deadly precision.
Ian McEwan

Biography

Ian McEwan is a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children's novel illustrated by Anthony Browne. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, The Cement GardenEnduring LoveAmsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize,AtonementSaturday, On Chesil Beach, Solar, Sweet Tooth and The Children Act.