Cressida Connolly

Cleverly Done

Enduring Love

By

Jonathan Cape 256pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

The opening chapter of Ian McEwan’s latest novel is a tour de force. As in Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey – a marvellous novella, still unaccountably underrated – a large cast is introduced in a moment of breathtaking drama. In Wilder’s story, it is as they plunge to their deaths from a breaking bridge; in McEwan’s, the story begins as a hot-air balloon lunges out of control, bringing tragedy to a spring morning above the Chilterns. But the two writers place very different interpretations upon death and destiny. In Wilder’s hands, what looks like a freak misadventure turns out to have been determined from on high. It is God’s Plan to make sense of the chaos, redeeming the suffering. McEwan’s vision is different: here, logical positivism rules. Accidents occur randomly, without meaning – or, as the Americans put it: shit happens.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,