Black Dogs: A Novel by Ian McEwan

By Ian McEwan

Set in past due Eighties Europe on the time of the autumn of the Berlin Wall, Black Dogs is the intimate tale of the crumbling of a wedding, as witnessed by way of an intruder. Jeremy is the son-in-law of Bernard and June Tremaine, whose union and estrangement all started nearly at the same time. looking to understand how their deep love may be defeated through ideological alterations Bernard and June can't reconcile, Jeremy undertakes writing June's memoirs, basically to be led again many times to 1 terrifying encouner 40 years earlier--a second that, for June, was once as devastating and irreversible in its results because the adjustments sweeping Europe in Jeremy's personal time. In a finely crafted, compelling exam of evil and beauty, Ian McEwan weaves the sinister truth of civiliation's darkest moods--its black dogs--with the tensions that either create love and ruin it.

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The shed, although tumbledown, is really rather handsome when looked at with a sympathetic eye, the wood of it weathered to a silky, silvery grey, like the handle of a well-worn implement, a spade, say, or a trusty axe. Old Brides-in-the-Bath would have caught that texture exactly, the quiet sheen and shimmer of it. Doodle deedle dee. Claire, my daughter, has written to ask how I am faring. Not well, I regret to say, bright Clarinda, not well at all. She does not telephone because I have warned her I will take no calls, even from her.

The waves were depositing a fringe of soiled yellow foam along the waterline. No sail marred the high horizon. I would not swim, no, not ever again. Someone has just walked over my grave. Someone. The name of the house is the Cedars, as of old. A bristling clump of those trees, monkey-brown with a tarry reek, their trunks nightmarishly tangled, still grows at the left side, facing across an untidy lawn to the big curved window of what used to be the living room but which Miss Vavasour prefers to call, in landladyese, the lounge.

I was too ambitious. She says she cannot get her fingers around the notes. Your mind, more like, I do not reply. Recreant, recreant thoughts. I wonder that she never married. She was beautiful, once, in her soulful way. Nowadays she wears her long grey hair, that formerly was so black, gathered into a tight loop behind her head and transpierced by two crossed pins as big as knitting needles, a style that is to my mind suggestive, wholly inappropriately, of the geisha-house. The Japanese note is continued in the kimono-like belted silk dressing-gown that she wears of a morning, the silk printed with a motif of brightly coloured birds and bamboo fronds.

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