I’ve been working my way through the Ian McEwan canon, and this is one of two collections of short stories that falls in the early half of McEwan’s works.
Gah. Early McEwan is soooo bleak sometimes. And grotesque. This collection seems to focus on love/sex/relationships, but nothing is ever as it seems. I mean, we can all say, “Blah blah isn’t that the way it always is,” but really. It’s a MIND GAME. And I fell into a reader’s trap more than once. There is a story about a two-timing porn shop employee who gets his just deserts. A story about a monkey in a relationship with his owner (no, really), a story about a father whose teenager daughter’s sexuality confronts his own naivete (and don’t worry, THEY don’t get weird), and others that I’m having difficulty remembering (note to self: finish CBR Review immediately after, and don’t wait a week to review).
I’ve concluded that I greatly prefer McEwan as a novelist to his short story-work. And, as evidenced by the overwhelming novel-to-short story ratio, McEwan seems to have arrived at a similar conclusion. I will, however, read the other collection, First Love, Last Rites. It’s all about the bragging rights, kids.