Hardback Lessons / Ian McEwan.
Publication year: 2022
Publisher: London : Jonathan Cape,
Resource type: Physical
ISBN: 9781787333970 (hbk.) :
When the world is still counting the cost of World War Two and the Iron Curtain descends, young Roland Baines's life is turned upside down. 2,000 miles from his mother's love, stranded at boarding school, his vulnerability attracts piano teacher Miriam Cornell, leaving scars as well as a memory of love that will never fade. 25 years later Roland's wife mysteriously vanishes, leaving him alone with their baby son. He is forced to confront the reality of his rootless existence. As radiation from the Chernobyl disaster spreads, Roland begins a search for answers that looks deep into his family history and will last for the rest of his life.
486 pages ; 24 cm
Not one of his best, but still well worth reading. Most impressive for its sweep of history, touching on WW2, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Thatcher, New Labour, Aids, Trump, Covid and more. The way that historical events impinge on the lives of ordinary people, and speculation on what lies ahead are skillfully handled. Less impressive for me is the characterisation, which at times stretches credulity almost to breaking point. Unusually for recent McEwan there is also a lack of humour, although the police interviews and disposal of ashes are two notable exceptions guaranteed to put a smile on your face. If you're a fan of McEwan, as I am, you should definitely read it; if you've not read him before, I'd suggest starting somewhere else, maybe Saturday, or Machines Like Me, or Nutshell.