He published his first collection of short stories at the age of 27 and his first novel 3 years later. He is often referred to “Ian Macabre” due to the nature of his earlier stories.
During his career he has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize 6 times, winning it for ‘Amsterdam’ and was featured on The Times “50 Great British Writers Since 1945.” The New Yorker named him as “Englands National Author.”
He writes “contemporary fiction” and has written short stories, novels, children’s books and screenplays, but critics, and readers seem to be divided on whether he is a master of prose or if his novels are so perfectly crafted that they are infuriating and beyond the enjoyment of the average man on the street. He is best known for his novel “Atonement”.
My favourite McEwan quotes:
“How often one reads a contemporary full length novel and thinks quietly, mutinously, that it would have worked out better at half or a third the length.”
“I often don’t read reviews.”
“I think of novels in architectural terms. You have to enter at the gate, and this gate must be constructed in such a way that the reader has immediate confidence in the strength of the building.”
“Im quite good at not writing.”
“You can spin stories out of the ways people understand and misunderstand each other.”
“You could say that all novels are spy novels and all novelists are spy masters.”
5 Minutes With Ian McEwan
I find it interesting what he says about reading “contemporary” novels, as personally, I found (whilst reading McEwans Saturday) that 7 pages to describe the main character leaving his house and arriving in the theatre of the hospital (the main character is a surgeon), a little excessive. So I totally agree! 😉 But isn’t that what defines contemporary literature? What is your interpretation of a literary novel as opposed to popular fiction?