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[PDF] ✪ Black Dogs By Ian McEwan – Cravenjobs.co.uk

pdf Black Dogs, ebook Black Dogs, epub Black Dogs, doc Black Dogs, e-pub Black Dogs, Black Dogs c4d8f03e7d7 Set In Late S 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


10 thoughts on “Black Dogs

  1. says:

    I have read many Ian McEwans, and I am always divided whether I like them or not There is a witty analysis of contemporary life that appeals to me, put into occasionally brilliant prose There are characters with interesting traits, and plots that usually have an abrupt twist in the end.It uses to be an entertaining and quick reading experience between heavier, thought provoking and linguistically challenging and satisfying classics or historical nonfiction.But this was below par, even considering my moderate expectations It makes the impression that the author wanted to answer the ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, but without the humorous focus of Douglas Adams, and without the number 42 guiding him through the maze of geopolitical and historical issues that haunt humankind He touches on the problems of disillusionment of old communists, but drops it before gaining the power of a Koestler, then moves on to the kind of communist reflection Lessing offers in The Golden Notebook, interweaving the political with personal, intimate relationships, but again without elaborating and giving the characters depth.There is a tedious discourse between two characters regarding religion versus atheism, without offering any new angle or solution, of course You are in separate realms , is the solution offered by the protagonist narrator, not very helpful, as the characters are still presiding over their different world view realms in the same room, and it is going round and round.Throw in short reflections on the Berlin Wall, and the Holocaust, and sex and family life in the 1980s, and being an orphan and turning into a cuckoo in other people s families, and you are far away from the supposed main theme according to the title of depression Black Dogs So June s idea was that if one dog was a personal depression, two dogs were a kind of cultural depression, civilisation s worst moods It is a typically short McEwan novel, and all these diverse topics are too important to be mentioned en passant, while the characters randomly discuss different anecdotes from their respective pasts.Too much and too little, at the same time, which the narrator seems to subconsciously understand while he is struggling to keep the story together I am uncertain whether our civilisation at this turn of the millennium is cursed by too much or too little belief, whether people like Bernard and June cause the trouble, or people like me Unfortunately, the narrator can t make the arithmetic mean between the extreme positions work out either, as the ideas are in different realms If you take a couple of apples and pears, add them together, and then divide them by two, you do not get a perfect pearapple, but rather a mash, which is what this book is to me.In the realm of my literary universe, this one sank to the bottom of the ocean.


  2. says:

    Very disappointing, and yet not a dreadful book either I ve read five other McEwan s, all 4 or 5.Remembering The narrator is preparing the memoirs of his dying mother in law He particularly wants details of a terrifying encounter with black dogs than 40 years ago that changed the direction of her life, and therefore that of her husband and children.Jeremy describes his own childhood, contrasting it with that of his wife, and tells of trips to the care home to talk to his mother in law, recounting snippets of her life As the book progressed, I became increasingly annoyed about this big secret and heavy handed metaphor that would, presumably, be revealed at the end, thinking it would probably be an anticlimax And it was.TruthOther than that, the main theme is honesty to oneself and to others June and Bernard Jeremy s parents in law joined the Communist party at the end of the war For me, the most effective passages were those that looked at how people twist or ignore the truth to maintain their faith in something, and the tensions between scientific rationalism and instinctive spiritual aspects McEwan points out that Laboratory work teaches you better than anything how easy it is to bend a result to fit a theory , acknowledging that rationalism is blind faith Jean and Bernard were very different, except their capacity, their appetite, for belief never diminished , though not necessarily in the same things I was also stunned and delighted at the idea of The Socialist Cycling Club of Amersham It s a very hilly area with a notable shortage of socialists Repeating Down the GenerationsPerhaps related to that, Jeremy is very conscious of one generation repeating the faults of a previous one, though he sometimes uses that as a convenient excuse For example, almost losing touch with a young relative because I could not bear to undergo another parting from X The thought that I was inflicting on her the very loss I had suffered myself intensified my loneliness.The elephant in the room is the titular black dog Depression is never really addressed, which is odd, given the title the book even mentions that the black dog was how Churchill personified his depressive episodes.Seductive WritingThere are snippets where McEwan s perceptive writing shines though it s the book as a whole that doesn t work for me To end with the good writing The companionable love making that is the privilege and compromise of married life A terminally ill person was buried in a sleep that had itself been smothered in an illness so on waking, she had to reconstruct her whole existence, who and where she was The liturgy at a funeral was a succession of brilliant phrases, book titles, dying cadences that breathed life, pure alertness, along the spine An unhappy family entering a restaurant was a luminous envelope of familial intensity.


  3. says:

    In response to the social utopia Communism this stunning novel develops tracking and inner transformation of June faces the ultimate evil, the black dogs quoting Gandhi Be the change you want to see in the world .


  4. says:

    I don t understand how anyone could dislike this It s basically a novel about ideologies and philosophies and how they apply to human beings, not about them in general, and McEwan s prose is so precise and fabulous that reading this whole thing, a book where barely anything actually happens except for near the end, was incredibly involving and fascinating The characters feel like genuine people, there is no political condescension or sloganeering, just thoughtful human debate I m also constantly amazed that Ian McEwan is a widely respected, serious author who very often ends his stories with twists or major revelations which make us reconsider what comes before Even a clever twist in genre fiction usually feels slightly cheap, but McEwan is so graceful with his writing that it damn near always works Black Dogs is a strange combination of the early McEwan and the later McEwan, not that the two are ultimately separated by than the author s age and the benefit of hindsight An incredibly affecting and intelligent novel.


  5. says:

    Black Dogs was not as bad as I had expected, based on the reviews, but it does have a lot of problems The novel tackles diverse themes, which intersect in interesting ways, though they arise in ad hoc rather than deliberate ways, and their treatment is not sufficiently meaningful The encounter at the heart of Black Dogs is compelling, and raises some interesting ideas about human nature, and the tension between idealism and the reality of the darker sides of humanity But the explanation is left somewhat vague, and the encounter is awarded implications in the characters lives that are too significant and far reaching McEwan attempts to create a mystery around the event, which, while helping to drive the narrative, falls flat in the reveal.McEwan has a tendency to both make too much of too little, and to bite off than he can chew Black Dogs could have worked better as either a short story about the central incident itself, or a longer exploration of the many ideas it attempts to tackle though I m not sure McEwan could have written the latter novel Instead, he attacks some untenable middle ground He seems to take a single kernel of a good idea, and fill in a story around it, adding characters and descriptions of histories and motivations, but all of it feels like mere scaffolding for the central event The story itself and the characters lack a certain complexity and reality The events of the novel do not arise naturally from the characters, but are driven by contrivance towards the inevitable event , which is something imposed externally McEwan intends for his characters to work through the implications of what has occurred, and for this discourse to make up the bulk of the novel However the characters he has constructed are themselves not compelling Despite having been given an abundance of personal history, they still feel flat and generalised Their dialogue is shallow, and never properly explores the heart of the matter Much of what is unearthed in Black Dogs remains not only unresolved, but in fact unexplored.


  6. says:

    I do not recommend this novel It is trite, long and boring 0 of 10 stars.


  7. says:

    My favorite Ian McEwan novel It reads like memoir, has that kind of immediacy Merits multiple re readings.


  8. says:

    I want to love Ian McEwan based on Zadie Smith s hilarious interview with him in the Believer book of Writers on Writing Maybe Black Dogs wasn t the place to start It was interesting to see his life work paralleled against Roth s in the New York Review of Books Al Alvarez, July 19 2007 , suggesting that McEwan, like Roth, came of age as a writer at a moment when sexuality had to be busted out and that he, like Roth, was in the vanguard of this I was expecting something original in his style like Roth s , but came away with an impression of someone who got embraced by the lit establishment at a particular moment in time because of the above and also because his understated simple prose fit in with the aesthetics of the Ford Carver Tobias Wolfe school of which I am a fan Black Dogs felt flat and carpentered to me, though I was also drawn to it because of it treats mystical material the black dogs as a sort of literal metaphor for evil , and because the book explicitly juxtaposes character against historical political context the fall of the Berlin wall in keeping with the calls for relevant social realism by Tom Wolfe and Franzen and others, which I agree with In the end the book felt to me like a lot of building blocks stacked near each other but never adding up to a beautiful house.


  9. says:

    I quite liked this like it much , in fact, than the reviews of my GR friends led me to expect I would It is richly packed with ideas and character into what is almost only a novella in length, and I found the ending to be particularly strong and well prepared by what had gone before The book is not flawless, there are technical weaknesses early on that is, the craftsmanship sometimes shows and there are passages where the debate becomes a bit ham handed, but the fundamental insight into the nature of evil and its implications is haunting and effecively conveyed This is a very good book, and while it is easy to dismiss McEwan as Lit lite and there may be some truth in that , the few hours it takes to read this story were not wasted.


  10. says:

    A beautifully written novella but hollow in the centre, and leaving me dissatisfied at the end It essentially revolves around a biography that the author Jeremy wants to write about his in laws, June and Bernard To understand why they are so important to Jeremy, you need to read the introduction which is actually part of the novella itself and not, as I first thought, an autobiographical note on the real author s life Nice one, Ian.June and Bernard get married just after WW2 but on their honeymoon in France, June has a traumatic experience with two black dogs This event becomes a defining moment in their lives that marks a gradual separation, with June regarding it in mystical and religious terms, while Bernard remained a rationalist June retreated to France a few years after the attack, to write and paint and live a hermit s life, while Bernard remained in London and became something of a media personality.In an effort to understand what happened, Jeremy followed both of their lives closely, and returns to the black dog scene four times in conversations with June and with Bernard, again on his own and in a final chapter where details of the event are revealed.What I found unsatisfactory was this why would the attack be such a defining moment and lead to a separation for over 40 years, even though June and Bernard remained in love It isn t explored, and we learn little about the rest of their lives, except for two current episodes Jeremy visits June in her nursing home shortly before her death, and Jeremy accompanies Bernard to Europe at the time the Berlin Wall is coming down That s about it If it had been a real autobiography then you could understand the gap, and such is the power of McEwan s writing that I tended to forget that it wasn t But the attack is so obviously an allegory about good and evil that when the details are finally revealed, it is well not quite an anticlimax, because it is horrible but, there s nothing to follow June told me that throughout her life she sometimes used to see them running down the path into the Gorge of the Vis, the bigger one trailing blood on the white stones fading as they move into the foothills of the mountains from where they will return to haunt us, somewhere in Europe, in another time.


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