The Child in Time
Ian McEwan

Review of Book

The back cover of this audio book describes how, one sunny Saturday at a supermarket in South London, Stephen Lewis and his 3-year old daughter Kate are routinely doing the shopping and how, fifteen minutes later, they are at the checkout and Kate has disappearedÂ… But the book is not, as you might anticipate, about the search to find her. It's largely about the more long-term responses and reactions, both emotional and psychological, to grief and loss.

Although there are some excellent descriptive passages of events in Stephen's life, for the most part it's a grey and tedious ramble. As we're taken from reality through memories and fantasies, the whole thing is messy, depressing, long-winded, non-stimulating and is, quite frankly, sheer hard work.

Clearly many others have a different view of Ian McEwan's work, because he is an internationally acclaimed writer with several literary awards to his name, including The Booker Prize. Interestingly, Nat's father Sir Peter Parker was chairman of the Booker group at the time of its inception. And several of Ian McEwan's novels have long been included in the National Curriculum, alongside the likes of Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.

Review of Nat's Reading

From the beginning, Nat sets the tone of the novel with a serious, semi-sombre and subdued narration. Occasionally he reads with softness and sensitivity, but it is mostly a non-animated style, as befits the story, with only one or two voices, none of which really stand out as they do in his other readings. Nat's wonderful voice apart, I really can't say this audio is a pleasure to listen to, but is actually very hard going for eight hours.

But I do think it's great that Nat has recorded yet another style, by yet another widely acclaimed author. It broadens his repertoire even further, and gives him even greater exposure - which can only be good.

Published by

BBC/Chivers ISBN -
CD 0754087654
Cassette 0754003469 1999/2003
Running time 8 hours 4 mins Complete and Unabridged

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