Paul Taylor

Led Astray by Mrs Thatcher

The Child in Time

By Ian McEwan

Jonathan Cape 224pp £10.95 order from our bookshop

What a rotten title is one’s first thought – and this from someone whose previous titles have always been so finely judged: the hint of paved-over repression in the near-oxymoron of The Cement Garden; the calm, inviting menace of The Comfort of Strangers; and the calculatedly bogus rurality of The Ploughmans Lunch. Bur McEwan’s new title sounds like a lopped-off, screwed-up proverb (‘A child in time saves nine’, perhaps), or like a time-slip children’s novel by Alison Uttley, or even maybe a thesis about the changing role of the child through history. It also has an air of making inflated claims for itself.

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