Set in late 1980s Europe at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Black Dogs is the intimate story of the crumbling of a marriage, as witnessed by an outsider. Jeremy is the son-in-law of Bernard and June Tremaine, whose union and estrangement began almost simultaneously. Seeking to comprehend how their deep love could be defeated by ideological differences Bernard and June cannot reconcile, Jeremy undertakes writing June’s memoirs, only to be led back again and again to one terrifying encouner forty years earlier—a moment that, for June, was as devastating and irreversible in its consequences as the changes sweeping Europe in Jeremy’s own time. In a finely crafted, compelling examination of evil and grace, Ian McEwan weaves the sinister reality of civiliation’s darkest moods—its black dogs—with the tensions that both create love and destroy it.
Ian McEwan - The Innocent
The setting is Berlin. Into this divided city, wrenched between East and West, between past and present, comes twenty-five-year-old Leonard Marnham, assigned to a British-American surveillance team. Though only a pawn in an international plot that is never fully revealed to him, Leonard uses his secret work to escape the bonds of his ordinary life — and to lose his unwanted innocence. The promise of his new life begins to be fulfilled as Leonard becomes a crucial part of the surveillance team, while simultaneously being initiated into a new world of love and sex by Maria, a beautiful young German woman. It is a promise that turns to horror in the course of one terrible evening — a night when Leonard Marnham learns just how much of his innocence he's willing to shed.
Ian McEwan - The Comfort of Strangers
As their holiday unfolds, Colin and Mary are locked into their own intimacy. They groom themselves meticulously, as though there awaits someone who cares deeply about how they appear. When they meet a man with a disturbing story to tell they become drawn into a fantasy of violence and obsession.
Ian McEwan - The Child in Time
Stephen Lewis, a successful writer of children's books, is confronted with the unthinkable: his only child, three-year-old Kate, is snatched from him in a supermarket. In one horrifying moment that replays itself over the years that follow, Stephen realizes his daughter is gone. With extraordinary tenderness and insight, Booker Prize-winning author Ian McEwan takes us into the dark territory of a marriage devastated by the loss of a child. Kate's absence sets Stephen and his wife, Julie, on diverging paths as they each struggle with a grief that only seems to intensify with the passage of time. Eloquent and passionate, the novel concludes in a triumphant scene of love and hope that gives full rein to the author's remarkable gifts. The winner of the Whitbread Prize, The Child in Time is an astonishing novel by one of the finest writers of his generation.
Ian McEwan - Enduring Love
In one of the most striking opening scenes ever written, a bizarre ballooning accident and a chance meeting give birth to an obsession so powerful that an ordinary man is driven to the brink of madness and murder by another's delusions. Ian McEwan brings us an unforgettable story—dark, gripping, and brilliantly crafted—of how life can change in an instant.
Ian McEwan - Saturday
Saturday, February 15, 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man - a successful neurosurgeon, the devoted husband of Rosalind and proud father of two grown-up children. Unusually, he wakes before dawn, drawn to the window of his bedroom and filled with a growing unease. What troubles him as he looks out at the night sky is the state of the world - the impending war against Iraq, a gathering pessimism since 9/11, and a fear that his city and his happy family life are under threat. Later, Perowne makes his way to his weekly squash game through London streets filled with hundreds of thousands of anti-war protestors. A minor car accident brings him into a confrontation with Baxter, a fidgety, aggressive, young man, on the edge of violence. To Perowne's professional eye, there appears to be something profoundly wrong with him. Towards the end of a day rich in incident and filled with Perowne's celebrations of life's pleasures, his family gathers for a reunion. But with the sudden appearance of Baxter, Perowne's earlier fears seem about to be realised.
Ian McEwan - Sweet Tooth
Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair with an older man during her final year at Cambridge, and finds herself being groomed for the intelligence services. The year is 1972. Britain, confronting economic disaster, is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism and faces its fifth state of emergency. The Cold War has entered a moribund phase, but the fight goes on, especially in the cultural sphere. Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is sent on a 'secret mission' which brings her into the literary world of Tom Healey, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? And who is inventing whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage - trust no one. McEwan's mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.
Ian McEwan - Amsterdam
On a chilly February day two old friends meet in the throng outside a crematorium to pay their last respects to Molly Lane. Both Clive Linley and Vernon Halliday had been Molly's lovers in the days before they reached their current eminence, Clive as Britain's most successful modern composer, Vernon as editor of the quality broadsheet, The Judge. Gorgeous, feisty Molly had had other lovers too, notably Julian Garmony, Foreign Secretary, a notorious right-winger tipped to be the next prime minister. In the days that follow Molly's funeral Clive and Vernon will make a pact that will have consequences neither has foreseen. Each will make a disastrous moral decision, their friendship will be tested to its limits and Julian Garmony will be fighting for his political life. A contemporary morality tale that is as profound as it is witty, this short novel is perhaps the most purely enjoyable fiction Ian McEwan has ever written. And why Amsterdam? What happens there to Clive and Vernon is the most delicious shock in a novel brimming with surprises. Booker Prize winner (1998).
Nick Hornby - About a Boy
Will is a thirty-six but acts like a teenager. He reads the right magazines, goes to the right clubs and knows which trainers to wear. He's also discovered a great way to score with women - at single parent's groups, full of available mothers, all waiting for Mr Nice. That's where he meets Marcus, the oldest twelve-year-old in the world. Marcus is a bit strange: he listens to Mozart, looks after his mum and he's never even owned a pair of trainers. Perhaps if Will can teach Marcus how to be a kid, Marcus can help Will grow up...
Nick Hornby - High Fidelity
When Laura dumps Rob (on the very first page) he is aggrieved and exhilarated, 35 and petrified. Trying to work out what went wrong, obsessed with music, and running an ailing record shop, he sets out on the road to self-discovery. Nick Hornby's first novel, an international bestseller and instantly recognized by critics and readers alike as a classic, helps to explain men to women, and men to men. Rob is good on music: he owns a small record shop and has strong views on what's decent and what isn't. But he's much less good on relationships. In fact, he's not at all sure that he wants to commit himself to anyone. So it's hardly surprising that his girlfriend decides that enough is enough.
Ian McEwan - On Chesil Beach
A short novel of remarkable depth and poignancy by a writer at the height of his powers. It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come... On Chesil Beach is another masterwork from lan McEwan - a story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.
Nick Hornby - Slam
There was this time when everything seemed to have come together. And so obviously it was time to go and screw it all up.’ Sam is sixteen and a skater. Just so there are no terrible misunderstandings: skating = skateboarding. There’s no ice. Life is ticking along nicely for Sam: his mum’s got rid of her rubbish boyfriend, he’s thinking about college and he’s met someone. Alicia. Then a little accident happens. One with big consequences for someone just finding his way in life. Sam can’t run (let alone skate) away from this one. He’s a boy facing a man’s problems and the question is – has he got what it takes to confront them?
Ian McEwan - Solar
Michael Beard is a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. Trading on his reputation, he speaks for enormous fees, lends his name to the letterheads of renowned scientific institutions and half-heartedly heads a government-backed initiative tackling global warming. A compulsive womaniser, Beard finds his fifth marriage floundering. But this time it is different: she is having the affair, and he is still in love with her. When Beard's professional and personal worlds collide in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself for Beard to extricate himself from his marital mess, reinvigorate his career and save the world from environmental disaster. Ranging from the Arctic Circle to the deserts of New Mexico, _Solar_ is a serious and darkly satirical novel, showing human frailty struggling with the most pressing and complex problem of our time. A story of one man's greed and self-deception, it is a profound and stylish new work from one of the world's great writers.
Kazuo Ishiguro - The Remains of the Day
It is the summer of 1956, and the ageing butler of Darlington Hall takes a rare holiday. But it is a journey that will also take him deep into his past. The Remains of the Day is a remarkable story: a man's exploration of his own life, and his heart-breaking attempt to make sense of it.
Ian McEwan - The Daydreamer
Peter Fortune is a daydreamer. He's a quiet ten year old who can't help himself from dropping out of reality and into the amazing world of his vivid imagination. His daydreams are fantastic and fascinating - only in the bizarre and disturbing world of dreams can he swap bodies with the family cat and his baby cousin, Kenneth, or wipe out his entire family with vanishing cream.
Nick Hornby - 31 Songs
Most of them loved, some of them once loved, all of them significant to him - beginning with Teenage Fanclub's 'Your Love Is the Place That I Come From', ending with Patti Smith's 'Pissing in a River', and encompassing singers as varied as Van Morrison and Nelly Furtado, songs as different as 'Thunder Road' and 'Puff the Magic Dragon' (reggae style). He discusses, among other things, guitar solos and singers whose teeth whistle and the sort of music you hear in the Body Shop. Together with additional writings on music from his column in the New Yorker - seen in the UK for the first time - 31 Songs is for Hornby what many of us have always wanted: a soundtrack to accompany life.
Nick Hornby - How to Be Good
London GP Katie Carr always thought she was a good person. With her husband David making a living as 'The Angriest Man in Holloway', she figured she could put up with anything. Until, that is, David meets DJ Goodnews and becomes a good person too. A far-too-good person who starts committing crimes of charity like taking in the homeless and giving their kids' toys away. Suddenly Katie's feeling very bad about herself, and thinking that if charity begins at home, then maybe it"s time to move ...
Nick Hornby - A Long Way Down
"The story is written in the first-person narrative from the points of view of the four main characters, Martin, Maureen, Jess and JJ. These four strangers happen to meet on the roof of a high building called Topper's House in London on New Year's Eve, each with the intent of committing suicide. Their plans for death in solitude, however, are ruined when they meet. The novel recounts their misadventures as they decide to come down from the roof alive - however temporarily that may be."