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Old 11th Feb 2009, 16:58   #15
is a palimpsestin' fool!
fanshawe's Avatar
Join Date: 17 Jun 2008
Location: Amsterdam
Posts: 555
Default Re: Book 58: BLACK DOGS by Ian McEwan

The narrator is quite engaging in a desperate sort of way. His paraphrasing of various luminaries ("Love, to borrow Plath's phrase, set me going") in the preface is a nice instance of his need to impress/ be accepted.

He serves his purpose in the scheme of the novel well too - the orphan who believes in nothing, perfectly placed between the fervent scientist and the Christian who strategises her faith around passages from The Art of War. The ostentation of the conceit would annoy me if a mild-mannered war between the faithful and their counterparts weren't currently being fought out on the unlikely battlefield of the bus-advertisement in London. It's realistic enough in that light.

Anyway, a nice quote in the section I've just read:

It is photography itself that creates the illusion of innocence. Its ironies of frozen narrative lend to its subjects an apparent unawareness that they will change or die. It is the future they are innocent of.
That's the kind of visionary generalisation (?) that separates Booker winners from longlist fodder.
2011/ 2010/ 2009/ 2008

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