McEwan, Ian 1948–
McEwan, Ian 1948–
(Ian Russell McEwan)
Born June 21, 1948, in Aldershot, England; son of David (an army officer) and Rose Lilian Violet McEwan; married Penny Allen, 1982 (divorced, 1995); married Annalena McAfee, 1997; children: two sons, two stepdaughters. Education: University of Sussex, B.A. (honors), 1970; University of East Anglia, M.A., 1971. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, tennis.
Agent—Rogers, Coleridge & White Ltd., 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN, England.
Writer, 1970—. Former reader of English, Sussex University.
Royal Society of Literature (fellow).
Somerset Maugham Award, 1976, for First Love, Last Rites; shortlisted for Booker Prize, 1981, for The Comfort of Strangers, 2001, for Atonement, and 2007, for On Chesil Beach; Primio Letterario Prato, 1982; award for best screenplay, London Evening Standard, 1983, for The Ploughman's Lunch; Whitbread Award, 1987, for The Child in Time; honorary doctorates from University of Sussex, 1989, and University of East Anglia, 1993; Booker Prize, 1998, for Amsterdam; shortlisted for Dublin IMPAC Award, 1999, for Enduring Love; Shakespeare Medal, 1999; People's Booker Prize, 2001, Whitbread Novel Award shortlist, and W.H. Smith literary prize, both 2002, and Santiago Prize for European Fiction, National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction, and Los Angeles Times Book Award in fiction category, all 2003, all for Atonement; James Tait Black Memorial prize, 2006, for Saturday. Received C.B.E., 2000.
First Love, Last Rites (contains "Last Day of Summer" and "Conversations with a Cupboardman"), Random House (New York, NY), 1975.
In Between the Sheets, and Other Stories, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1978.
The Short Stories, J. Cape (London, England), 1995.
The Cement Garden, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1978.
The Comfort of Strangers, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1981.
The Child in Time, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1987.
The Innocent, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1990.
Black Dogs, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1992.
Amsterdam, J. Cape (London, England), 1997, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1998.
Enduring Love, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1998.
Atonement, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2002.
Saturday, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday (New York, NY), 2005.
On Chesil Beach, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday (New York, NY), 2007.
Rose Blanche, J. Cape (London, England), 1985.
The Daydreamer, illustrated by Anthony Browne, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1994.
The Ploughman's Lunch (Greenpoint/Samuel Goldwyn, 1983), Methuen (London, England), 1985.
(With Mike Newell) Sour Sweet (adapted from Timothy Mo's novel; British Screen/Film Four/Zenith, 1989), Faber & Faber (London, England), 1988.
The Innocent (adapted from McEwan's novel), Lakeheart/Miramax/Sievernich, 1993.
The Good Son, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1993.
Conversations with a Cupboardman (radio play; based on a story by McEwan), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 1975.
The Imitation Game: Three Plays for Television (contains "Jack Flea's Celebration" [BBC-TV, 1976], "Solid Geometry," and "The Imitation Game" [BBC-TV, 1980]), J. Cape (London, England), 1981.
Or Shall We Die? (oratorio; produced at Royal Festival Hall, 1983, produced at Carnegie Hall, 1985), score by Michael Berkeley, J. Cape (London, England), 1983.
Last Day of Summer (adapted from McEwan's short story), 1984.
Strangers (play; adapted from McEwan's novel The Comfort of Strangers), produced in London, England, 1989.
A Move Abroad (includes Or Shall We Die? and The Ploughman's Lunch), Pan (London, England), 1989.
Contributor to periodicals and literary journals, including Guardian, New American Review, New Review, Radio Times, Sunday Telegraph, Times Literary Supplement, Transatlantic Review, and Tri-Quarterly.
In Between the Sheets was adapted for the stage by Seth Duerr, 2006; The Comfort of Strangers was adapted for film by Harold Pinter and directed by Paul Schrader, 1991; The Cement Garden was adapted for film by writer-director Andrew Birkin, 1993; Enduring Love was adapted for film by Joe Penhall and directed by Roger Michell, 2004; Atonement was adapted as an audiobook, Publishing Mills, 2002, and as a film by Christopher Hampton and directed by Sir Richard Eyre, 2007.
British author Ian McEwan is considered by some critics to be the most famous protege of novelist Malcolm Bradbury, a noted professor of creative writing at the University of East Anglia. Within McEwan's fictional worlds—particularly in his early novels—flourishes a haunting perversity: Childhood collides with adult violence, and power manifests itself in aberrant sexuality and political authoritarianism. The element of horror in his works is quickly recognized by the reader; it is the stuff of newspaper headlines, and it pervades human society. McEwan explores such modern horror in a style described by George Stade, writing in the New York Times Book Review, as "self-effacing rather than gaudy prose, as cold and transparent as a pane of ice, noticeable only in that things on the other side of it are clearer and brighter than they should be, a touch sinister in their dazzle." Paul Di Filippo, writing in the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, and Gothic Writers, likewise acknowledged McEwan's "tight prose," and called the novelist "a mask-wearing shaman guiding his readers on the blackest of night-sea journeys."
The collection of stories McEwan wrote at age twenty-two for his master's thesis was published in 1975 as First Love, Last Rites. The grotesque characters that inhabit these stories include an incestuous brother and sister, a gentleman who lives in a cupboard, a child-slayer, and a man who keeps the penis of a nineteenth-century criminal preserved in a jar. The stories include "Cocker at the Theatre," in which excessively exuberant stage actors indulge in actual sex during a performance; "Butterflies," wherein a sex criminal recalls his exploits; "Homemade," in which a young man explains the sexual relations he has shared with his sister; and the title story, in which two young lovers destroy a rodent.
Writing in the New York Review of Books, Robert Towers praised First Love, Last Rites as "possibly the most brilliantly perverse and sinister batch of short stories to come out of England since Angus Wilson's The Wrong Set." Towers described McEwan's England as a "flat, rubble-strewn wasteland, populated by freaks and monsters, most of them articulate enough to tell their own stories with mesmerizing narrative power and an unfaltering instinct for the perfect sickening detail." John Fletcher, meanwhile, wrote in the Dictionary of Literary Biography: "Such writing would be merely sensational if it were not, like Kafka's, so pointed, so accurate, so incapable indeed of being appalled. In contemporary writing one has to turn to French literature to encounter a similar contrast between the elegance of the language and the disturbing quality of the material; in writing in English McEwan is wholly unique. No one else combines in quite the same way exactness of notation with a comedy so black that many readers may fail to see the funny side at all."
McEwan's first novel, The Cement Garden, has been likened to William Golding's Lord of the Flies, in which lost schoolboys degenerate into violent cannibals. The Cement Garden depicts four children's regression into a feral state with "suspense and chilling impact but without the philosophy lesson," William McPherson noted in the Washington Post Book World. McEwan's children have been raised in an environment providing isolation similar to that in Golding's novel: a Victorian house standing alone amid the abandoned ruins of a postwar housing subdivision. After their parents die in quick succession, the children cover up the deaths—even hiding one corpse—while the eldest siblings unsuccessfully attempt to assume parental roles. The children eventually lapse into filth and apathy while the house decays until an outsider discovers the orphans' secret and summons the police to the scene.
Towers described The Cement Garden as "a shocking book, morbid, full of repellent imagery—and irresistibly readable, … the work of a writer in full control of his materials," and called McEwan's approach "magic realism—a transfiguration of the ordinary that has a far stronger retinal and visceral impact than the flabby surrealism of so many ‘experimental’ novels. The settings and events reinforce one another symbolically, but the symbolism never seems contrived or obtrusive." Fletcher praised the author's "quiet, precise, and sensuous touch" but added that "it is difficult to see how McEwan can develop much further this line in grotesque horror and black comedy, with a strong admixture of eroticism and perversion."
McEwan's second collection of short stories, In Between the Sheets, and Other Stories, appears, at least initially, to be another consideration of characteristically unsettling characters and activities. The predictably peculiar tales include "Reflections of a Kept Ape," in which a romantic ape laments the end of his affair with a woman writer; "Dead as They Come," wherein a man becomes obsessed with a department store mannequin; "In Between the Sheets," in which a father fantasizes about sexual relations with his young daughter; and "Pornography," wherein a misogynistic pornography seller is targeted for revenge by two of his female victims.
Despite the seemingly grotesque nature of its contents, In Between the Sheets, and Other Stories has been perceived by several critics as evidence of McEwan's more restrained approach to his subject matter. V.S. Pritchett noted in the New York Review of Books that "McEwan is experimenting more," but added that the collection contains "two encouraging breaks with ‘mean’ writing." Reviewing In Between the Sheets in the Washington Post Book World, Terrence Winch maintained that McEwan's prose "is as clear as a windowpane" and called the author "a gifted story-teller and possibly the best British writer to appear in a decade or more."
In contrast to the eccentric characters of McEwan's earliest works, the prominent figures in his 1981 novel, The Comfort of Strangers, are a well-groomed, respectable couple on holiday in Venice. But the author gradually draws these unsuspecting characters into a web of horror that climaxes in sadomasochistic murder. Although continuing his praise for McEwan's gifts as a storyteller, John Leonard found the novel's plot contrived and unbelievable; writing in the New York Times, he claimed that The Comfort of Strangers, although penned "by a writer of enormous talent, is definitely diseased." Stephen Koch also faulted the plot while praising McEwan's craftsmanship. "McEwan proceeds through most of this sickly tale with subtlety and promise," Koch stated in the Washington Post Book World. "The difficulty is that all this skill is directed toward a climax which, even though it is duly horrific, is sapped by a certain thinness and plain banality at its core. After an impressive send-up, the sadomasochistic fantasy animating The Comfort of Strangers is revealed as … a sadomasochistic fantasy. And not much more." But Koch went on to praise the novel, adding: "In all his recent fiction, McEwan seems to be reaching toward some new imaginative accommodation to the sexual questions of innocence and adulthood, role and need that have defined, with such special intensity, his generation…. I honor him for his effort."
The focus of McEwan's fiction underwent a shift after the birth of his own children. As he told Amanda Smith in an interview for Publishers Weekly: "It was both inevitable and desirable that my own range or preoccupation should change and that my emotional range should increase. Having children has been a major experience in my life…. It's extended me emotionally, personally, in ways that could never be guessed at. It's inevitable that that change would be reflected in my writing."
McEwan's 1987 novel, The Child in Time, confronts a fear universally felt by parents: that a child might become separated from them and be harmed. In the novel a three-year-old girl is abducted from her father while the two are shopping at the grocery store. Despite a massive search, the child is never found and her parents' relationship disintegrates due to guilt, anger, and each parent's isolating grief. The mother retreats to a country house; the father is left to find solace in television, alcohol, and his friendship with a man who, ironically, soon divests himself of adult responsibility and retreats to a childlike state of madness. McEwan's plot is threaded through with political hazards: the threat of nuclear war combines with economic collapse to propel the political state toward authoritarianism.
Some critics felt that the complexity of its subject-matter makes The Child in Time uneven. "What McEwan clearly has in mind is to document the … timelessness of childhood, to show how the child is never fully dead within us," commented Jonathan Yardley in the Washington Post Book World. But, Yardley added, "theme and story never quite connect." Michiko Kakutani, in the New York Times, noted that "if these motifs were successfully woven together, they might have reinforced McEwan's reverent vision of childhood, endowed it with some sort of symphonic resonance. As it is, they feel like afterthoughts grafted onto [the] story and not fully assimilated into the text." R.Z. Sheppard praised The Child in Time, however, writing in Time that "McEwan bridges the chasm between private anguish and public policy with a death-defying story, inventive, eventful and affirmative without being sentimental."
McEwan explores the espionage of a past epoch in his fourth novel, The Innocent, which critics have compared to the work of such masters of the spy genre as John le Carre and Graham Greene. Set in Berlin during the Cold War 1950s, the book concerns an actual joint effort by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the British MI6 to hear Soviet phone conversations by tunneling underground and tapping into East German phone cables. McEwan uses metaphor and symbolism to transform the historic account into a lesson on the dangers of ignoring the Socratic counsel "Know thyself."
In The Innocent McEwan sets up the stereotypic rigid Englishman, the brash American, and a sensual German seductress, then proceeds to penetrate their surfaces, flesh them out, and reveal their individuality. A reserved English telephone technician spying on Soviets in Cold War Berlin eventually finds himself outmatched by an American CIA operative. Moreover, the affair he has been conducting with a German woman compels the British agent to murder the woman's husband; the corpse is hacked into pieces and stored in two suitcases.
Comparing The Innocent to The Child in Time, New York Times critic Kakutani deemed the later work "bone tight: every detail of every event works as a time bomb, waiting to go off, while every image seems to pay off in terms of plot, atmosphere or theme." Richard Eder, writing in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, commended the entertaining quality of McEwan's novel but noted that the ending is jarred loose from the work by an interlude of violence Eder dubbed "all but unbearable to read." The Innocent "evokes a dark moral world in a highly entertaining fashion," wrote Eder. "Unlike Greene's entertainments, however, McEwan's leaves not even the trace of a feeling behind it."
Black Dogs, published in 1992, is a novel narrated by a man endeavoring to collect the pieces of his family's history and compose a memoir. The black dogs of the book's title refer to a vision that haunts one of the narrator's relatives; they also serve to represent the evil that lurks within every man. "The book richly suggests our human potentialities for mere waste as well as sheer evil, and for a sort of imperilled happiness," noted Caroline Moore in the Spectator; "the dogs, which disappear into the foothills of Europe like ‘black stains in a grey dawn,’ could take any form to reappear." As one of the novel's characters explains: "When the conditions are right, in different countries, at different times, a terrible cruelty, a viciousness against life erupts, and everyone is surprised by the depth of hatred within himself."
The metaphoric canines in Black Dogs clearly echo themes more subtly expressed in McEwan's previous fiction. As M. John Harrison noted in the Times Liter-ary Supplement, "McEwan's retreat from the cement garden of his earlier books has been exemplary … [Black Dogs is] an undisguised novel of ideas which is also Ian McEwan's best work."
In McEwan's novel Enduring Love a couple's picnic is disrupted by the sight of a hot-air balloon caught in treacherous winds. Efforts to haul the balloon to safety fail, and the balloon crashes to Earth. One of the picnickers involved in the rescue rushes to the balloon only to be stopped by another rescuer and urged to pray. The hero soon finds himself stalked by this religious fellow, who nurtures a bizarre obsession. New York Times reviewer Christopher Lehmann-Haupt found Enduring Love "suspenseful" and "thematically rich."
McEwan followed Enduring Love with Amsterdam, for which he secured the prestigious Booker Prize in 1998. Amsterdam is the story of two longtime friends who form a euthanasia pact only to learn that it ultimately holds regrettable consequences. A Kirkus Reviews critic called Amsterdam "a smartly written tale that devolves slowly into tricky and soapy vapors," while in the New York Times, Kakutani deemed it the work of "a writer in complete control of his craft, a writer who has managed to toss off this minor entertainment with such authority and aplomb that it has won him the recognition he has so long deserved."
Critical praise was heaped upon McEwan upon publication of his 2002 novel Atonement. The story of a highly imaginative British preteen whose desire to gain dramatic stature within her family results in a false accusation of rape and the destruction of a young man's life, Atonement also provokes the reader into questioning the role of the novelist in creating realistic fiction, and what Commonweal contributor Edward T. Wheeler called "the relationship between artistic imagination and truth of life." In McEwan's novel, a story is told from the point of view of an impressionable young narrator clearly identified as imaginative and inclined to interpret events to suit her penchant for drama; while the story is narrated by that child grown to adulthood, assertions come into question, facts become clouded, and McEwan's final chapters "undermine the fictional reality of the entire novel," according to Antioch Review critic Barbara Beckerman Davis. Davis praised Atonement as "McEwan's most intricate book," while in School Library Journal Susan H. Woodcock praised it as a "thought-provoking novel" with a story that is "compelling, the characters well drawn and engaging, and the outcome … almost always in doubt." In 2006, although McEwan had credited Lucilla Andrews's memoir No Time for Romance as a source for Atonement, he was nonetheless accused of copying sentences and phrases from the book. Many prominent writers came to McEwan's defense, including Margaret Atwood, John Updike, Zadie Smith, Martin Amis, and Thomas Pynchon.
McEwan's 2005 endeavor, the novel Saturday, is the story of the Perownes, a seemingly perfect family: neurosurgeon father, attorney mother, and two grown children—a poet daughter and a son who is a skilled musician. The entire novel takes place on one Saturday and centers on Henry, the father, being involved in a car accident and subsequent encounters between the Perownes and Baxter, the mentally and physically ill man in the other car, culminating in Baxter's invasion of the Perownes' home, where he threatens them and is then transformed by the beauty of a poem. In an America review, John B. Breslin found that while Saturday is "a tightly written story," ultimately it "falls a bit flat." First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life contributor Paul J. Griffiths, however, considered McEwan's eighth novel "perhaps his finest" and noted that it "is an almost-perfect witness to the texture and meaning of a cultured paganism that knows it cannot last."
The Daydreamer constituted a change of pace for McEwan. A work of fiction for younger readers, the 1994 short-story collection describes the adventures of a gifted ten-year-old named Peter Fortune, who balances his mundane suburban existence with a rich fantasy life. With a heightened sense of imagination, Peter is able to vividly experience what it would be like to trade bodies with his dying cat, make his parents disappear, battle a demonic doll, or abandon his little sister on the bus, all through his daydreams. While New York Times Book Review critic David Leavitt noted that McEwan "has an unhappy tendency to talk down to his readers in a way that he could never get away with in an adult novel," the reviewer added that the author "possesses a vivid imagination for the grotesque. Thus he is nowhere more successful in [the book] … than when—like his young hero—he lets that imagination get the better of him." Gregory Feeley, writing in the Washington Post Book World, noted: "The best scenes … combine wit and invention with a sense of the natural order being overturned in a manner that recalls Roald Dahl." Praising McEwan's prose as "vivid and poetic," a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that TheDaydreamer "reveals a profound understanding of childhood." Also favorable was an assessment by Merritt Moseley, who in a Dictionary of Literary Biography entry called The Daydreamer a "beautifully written" work.
In addition to his novels, children's books, and short stories, McEwan is the author of several screenplays, including The Innocent, based on his novel, and The Ploughman's Lunch, derived from his own stage production. The Ploughman's Lunch details the behavior of a callously self-serving individual in the equally cold and unfeeling England of the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher presided as prime minister. Writing in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Merritt Moseley observed that the film is set in a "coarse, opportunistic, false society" that McEwan indicts for dishonesty. New York Times film critic Vincent Canby praised the film as "immensely intelligent."
McEwan has also written several scripts for television, including "Solid Geometry," notorious in his native Britain for having been banned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 1979, at an advanced stage of production, due to its "grotesque and bizarre sexual elements." This play, derived from a story in First Love, Last Rites, concerns an individual who maintains a pickled penis on his desk. Another television play, "Jack Flea's Birthday Celebration," features an infantile young man whose mother and girlfriend vie for maternal authority over him. And in "The Imitation Game," which was broadcast in 1980, a woman's desire to aid in England's war effort is consistently undermined by the country's male-oriented social order. Moseley, in his Dictionary of Literary Biography entry on McEwan, proclaimed "The Imitation Game" "a strong play."
Feminist in perspective is Or Shall We Die?, an oratorio for which McEwan provided the words to composer Michael Berkeley's music. Moseley noted in the Dictionary of Literary Biography that this work "was written at a time of mounting anxiety over the threat of nuclear war," and he acknowledged its notion of "the feminine principle as humanity's potential salvation." Remarking on his preference for the novel over the screenplay or the short story as a fictional means of expressing his concerns, McEwan explained to Publishers Weekly contributor Smith: "The reason the novel is such a powerful form is that it allows the examination of the private life better than any other art form. Our common sense gives us such a thin wedge of light on the world, and perhaps one task of the writer is to broaden the wedge."
"My novels usually start in a very chaotic way," McEwan explained to a contributor for Time magazine. He further noted: "It never feels so clear as selecting a topic. I write my way into them. Though I am keen to make my new novel not anything like my last, so often I am in flight from the last thing I did." McEwan returned to the novel, or rather novella, form for his 2007 work, On Chesil Beach, the tale of a sexually inexperienced and inept couple on their wedding night. Edward and Florence are honeymooning at the Dorset seashore. It is 1962 and the couple is very much in love, as well as being very much creatures of the more conservative 1950s than of the liberal and swinging 1960s. However, an ominous presence lies on their horizon: they are both virgins and both look forward with varying degrees of anticipation and nervousness to their wedding night together. As the tension builds toward the night, the reader learns about each character—his or her class background and family relationships, their ambitions in the world and their expectations from marriage. Florence is musical and has hopes for a concert career, while Edward is a historian who wants to find domestic stability that he never had in his own youth in his marriage with Florence. Ultimately, also, the reader learns of a secret from their courting days that will indelibly change their lives. In the end, it seems that each of the partners in the couple does not know the other at all, and such ignorance proves costly in terms of their potential happiness.
Though many reviewers noted the slimness of the volume—less than two hundred pages—most also recognized its power. Indeed, the book was an early favorite for the Mann-Booker Prize of its year, though the prize went elsewhere. Writing in Town & Country, Andrea Chapin noted that in spite of its brevity, On Chesil Beach "pulls us into deep psychological terrain." For Francine Prose, writing in O, the Oprah Magazine, the novel was both "melancholy and haunting," and McEwan "has never written more beautifully." Prose further termed the work a "quietly riveting book." Similar praise came from many quarters. Writing in Booklist, Brad Hooper found the novel an "achingly beautiful narrative," and one that is "ingenious for its limited but deeply resonant focus." Library Journal contributor Starr E. Smith described the novel as a "brief, affecting tale of romantic dreams overthrown by adherence to social constructs that are about to change radically," while a Publishers Weekly reviewer called it "masterful," and further commended McEwan's "flawless omniscient narration [that] has a curious (and not unpleasantly condescending) fable-like quality."
Not all reviewers were so charmed by On Chesil Beach, however. Rachel Aspeden, writing in the New States-man, observed: "In a novel so reliant on bias and conviction, a little more authorly engagement would be welcome." Spectator reviewer Philip Hensher voiced similar concerns: "What I find troubling about this novel, and many of McEwan's books, is that he moves from his narrow but effective competence into areas where his authority looks very shaky indeed." Others, though, found more to like in the novella. Writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Maxine Clarke noted: "This short book is intense and powerful, particularly so at the end, when, in the fullness of time, one character can finally understand the cost and effect of the night on Chesil Beach," and John Freeman, writing in the Houston Chronicle, dubbed it an "elegant, unflinching novella."
As Connie Ogle noted in her Miami Herald review of On Chesil Beach, "Ian McEwan is a dedicated student of cataclysm, delving into psychological temblors large and small." Queried by a contributor to Time why his novels were often so dark and bleak, McEwan replied simply: "Look at the front page of today's newspaper. We are a troubled lot, and literature is bound to reflect this. Any examination of the human state will take you into some dark places."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bestsellers 90, Issue 4, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991, pp. 50-52.
Burnes, Christina, Sex and Sexuality in Ian McEwan's Work, Pauper's Press (Nottingham, England), 1995.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 13, 1980, Volume 66, 1992.
Contemporary Novelists, 5th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1992.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 14: British Novelists since 1960, 1983, pp. 495-500; Volume 194: British Novelists since 1960, Second Series, 1998, pp. 207-215.
Haffenden, John, Novelists in Interview, Methuen (London, England), 1985, pp. 526-527.
McEwan, Ian, Black Dogs, J. Cape (London, England), 1992.
Ryan, Kiernan, Ian McEwan, Northcote House (Plymouth, England), 1994.
St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, and Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998, pp. 400-402.
Slay, Jack L., Jr., Ian McEwan, Twayne (New York, NY), 1996.
Stevenson, Randall, The British Novel since the Thirties: An Introduction, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1986, pp. 185-193.
Taylor, D.J., A Vain Conceit: British Fiction in the 1980s, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1989, pp. 55-59.
Airline Industry Information, April 2, 2004, "British Author Refused Permission to Board Flight to the US from Canada."
America, April 30, 1994, Joseph J. Feeney, review of Black Dogs, p. 22; July 4, 2005, John B. Breslin, "No Ordinary Day," p. 24.
Antioch Review, winter, 2003, Barbara Beckerman Davis, review of Atonement, p. 179.
Atlantic, March, 2002, review of Atonement, pp. 106-109; July, 2007, Christopher Hitchens, "Think of England: Ian McEwan's New Novella Evokes His Homeland's Natural Beauty and the Straitened Sexual Manners of the Early 1960s," p. 134.
Bomb, fall, 1990, review of The Innocent, pp. 14-16.
Booklist, November 1, 2002, Candace Smith, review of Atonement, p. 513; March 15, 2007, Brad Hooper, review of On Chesil Beach, p. 5.
Bookseller, May 18, 2007, "Coasting to the Next Level: Ian McEwan's Latest Novel—or Is It?—Has Made Saturday Seem like Yesterday," p. 17; September 21, 2007, Julia Kingsford, review of On Chesil Beach, p. 13.
Business Traveller Asia Pacific, November, 2007, David Johnson, review of On Chesil Beach, p. 21.
Christian Century, May 22, 2002, Gordon Houser, review of Atonement, p. 30.
Commonweal, May 3, 2002, Edward T. Wheeler, review of Atonement, p. 26.
Critical Quarterly, summer, 1982, review of The Comfort of Strangers, pp. 27-31.
Encounter, June, 1975, review of First Love, Last Rites; January, 1979, review of In Between the Sheets, and Other Stories.
Financial Times, August 8, 2007, "McEwan Tipped for Second Booker," p. 2.
First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, August-September, 2005, Paul J. Griffiths, "Nor Certitude, Nor Peace," p. 40.
Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), April 16, 1988, review of The Child in Time; June 2, 1990, review of The Innocent.
Houston Chronicle, June 17, 2007, John Freeman, "Sexual Reeling; a Wedding Night Unfolds like a Murder Mystery," p. 20.
Kenyon Review, summer, 2007, "A Conversation with Ian McEwan."
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 1998, review of Amsterdam.
Library Journal, April 1, 2007, Starr E. Smith, review of On Chesil Beach, p. 82.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 24, 1990, Richard Eder, review of The Innocent, p. 3.
M2 Best Books, May 3, 2006, "Shortlist for James Tait Black Memorial Prizes Announced"; June 9, 2006, "Ian McEwan Wins the James Tait Black Memorial Prize"; April 3, 2007, "Ian McEwan May Face Fine for Removing Stones from Protected Beach"; April 10, 2007, "Ian McEwan to Return Pebbles to Chesil Beach."
Miami Herald, June 3, 2007, "Wedding Night: A Couple's First Sex Act Defines Their Future in Ian McEwan's Compelling Five-act Drama"; June 6, 2007, Connie Ogle, review of On Chesil Beach.
Nation, October 31, 1987, review of The Child in Time, p. 491.
National Review, January 18, 1993, Lawrence Dugan, review of Black Dogs, p. 57.
New Republic, July 23, 1990, review of The Innocent, p. 37; March 26, 2002, James Wood, review of Atonement, p. 26.
New Review, autumn, 1978, review of In Between the Sheets, and Other Stories, pp. 9-21.
New Statesman, May 11, 1990, review of The Innocent, pp. 18-19, 35-36; Rachel Aspeden, April 30, 2007, "Their Generation," p. 58.
Newsweek, June 4, 1990, review of The Innocent, p. 80; October 11, 1993, review of Black Dogs, p. 59A.
Newsweek International, April 8, 2002, interview with Ian McEwan, p. 94.
New Yorker, January 25, 1993, review of Black Dogs, p. 111.
New York Review of Books, March 8, 1979, Robert Towers, review of The Cement Garden, p. 8; January 24, 1980, V.S. Pritchett, review of In Between the Sheets, and Other Stories, p. 31; February 4, 1988, Gabriele Annan, review of The Child in Time, p. 18; January 14, 1993, Kelly Fried, review of Black Dogs, p. 37; April 11, 2002, John Lanchester, review of Atonement, p. 24.
New York Times, August 14, 1979, John Leonard, review of In Between the Sheets, and Other Stories, p. C12; June 15, 1981, John Leonard, review of The Comfort of Strangers, p. 19; October 19, 1984, Vincent Canby, review of The Ploughman's Lunch; September 26, 1987, Michiko Kakutani, review of The Child in Time, p. 13; May 29, 1990, Michiko Kakutani, review of The Innocent, p. B2; November 18, 1992, William Grimes, review of Black Dogs, p. B3; January 15, 1998, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Enduring Love; December 1, 1998, Michiko Kakutani, review of Amsterdam; June 7, 2006, "A British Novelist's Tales Take the Stage," p. 3; November 28, 2006, "Eyebrows Are Raised over Passages in a Best Seller," p. 1; December 7, 2006, "Novelists Defend One of Their Own against a Plagiarism Charge in Britain," p. 1; January 7, 2007, "Plagiarism: Everybody into the Pool," p. 33; January 18, 2007, "A Novelist's True Tale Led Him to a Long-lost Brother," p. 3.
New York Times Book Review, November 26, 1978, Anne Tyler, review of The Cement Garden, p. 11; August 26, 1979, Julian Moynahan, review of In Between the Sheets, and Other Stories, p. 9; July 5, 1981, Richard P. Brickner, review of The Comfort of Strangers, p. 7; October 11, 1987, review of The Child in Time, p. 9; June 3, 1990, George Stade, review of The Innocent, p. 1; November 13, 1994, David Leavitt, review of The Daydreamer, p. 54.
O, the Oprah Magazine, June, 2007, Francine Prose, "Lovesick," p. 156.
Paris Review, summer, 2002, Adam Begley, interview with Ian McEwan, pp. 30-60.
Philadelphia Inquirer, June 6, 2007, Maxine Clarke, "A Beach Honeymoon amid Shifting Sands."
Publishers Weekly, September 11, 1987, Amanda Smith, "Ian McEwan," pp. 68-69; July 11, 1994, review of The Daydreamer, p. 79; March 5, 2007, review of On Chesil Beach, p. 33.
School Library Journal, October, 1994, review of The Daydreamer, p. 126; June, 2002, Susan H. Woodcock, review of Atonement, p. 172.
Spectator, June 27, 1992, Caroline Moore, review of Black Dogs, p. 32; March 24, 2007, "Private Faces Are Wiser and Nicer"; April 7, 2007, "The Magus of Fitzrovia in His Prime."
Time, November 27, 1978, review of The Cement Garden, p. 106; January 4, 1988, R.Z. Sheppard, review of The Child in Time, p. 69; June 25, 1990, review of The Innocent, p. 69; November 16, 1992, review of Black Dogs, p. 103; September 27, 1993, review of The Daydreamer, p. 84; June 18, 2007, "10 Questions," p. 6.
Times (London, England), June 27, 1987, review of The Child in Time; May 8, 1990, review of The Innocent.
Times Literary Supplement, January 20, 1978, review of In Between the Sheets, and Other Stories, p. 53; September 29, 1978, review of The Cement Garden, p. 1077; October 9, 1981, review of The Comfort of Strangers, p. 1145; October 30, 1981, review of The Comfort of Strangers, p. 1268; June 19, 1992, M. John Harrison, review of Black Dogs, p. 20.
Times Saturday Review, December 8, 1990, review of The Innocent, pp. 16-17.
Town & Country, August, 2007, Andrea Chapin, "Lean, Mean Fiction from Literary Lions," p. 49.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), July 19, 1981, review of The Comfort of Strangers; June 10, 1990, review of The Innocent, p. 7.
USA Today, June 5, 2007, "Like Chesil Beach, McEwan Takes Each Wave as It Comes," p. 5.
Village Voice, August 28, 1990, review of The Innocent, p. 102.
Virginia Quarterly Review, autumn, 1975, review of First Love, Last Rites.
Washington Post Book World, October 29, 1978, William McPherson, review of The Cement Garden; August 5, 1979, Terrence Winch, review of In Between the Sheets, and Other Stories; June 28, 1981, Stephen Koch, review of The Comfort of Strangers; April 30, 1987, Jonathan Yardley, review of The Child in Time; June 3, 1990, review of The Innocent, p. 10; December 4, 1994, Gregory Feeley, review of The Daydreamer, p. 19.
Weekly Standard, August 20, 2007, "Unconsummation; the Sexual Battleground before the Revolution."
World and I, August, 2002, "Atonement: Evolution of Ian Macabre," p. 207.
World Entertainment News Network, June 8, 2006, "Rowling Named Greatest Living British Author."
Yale Review, April, 1993, Maureen Howard, review of Black Dogs, p. 134; July, 1993, review of Black Dogs, p. 122.
Washingtonpost.com,http://www.washingtonpost.com/ (June 5, 2007), "Book World Live; Two Young Lovers Struggle to Consummate Their Marriage."
All Things Considered (National Public Radio broadcast), June 1, 2007, "Ian McEwan's ‘On Chesil Beach.’"
Talk of the Nation (National Public Radio broadcast), December 13, 2006, "Writers and Plagiarism."
Writers Talk: Ideas of Our Time (video), ICA Video, 1989.