So perhaps we have here an indication that the author has given up on his obsession with the real, that he has come to terms with the fact that he writes about characters and events that are not factual.
He has dealt with the question: if none of this is real, then why go to such lengths to make sure that it appears to be? In the next line, the narrator thinks, “But the actual, the circumscribed real, is absorbing too and I’m impatient for Claude to return and us what really happened.” Old habits are hard to kill.
Our narrator has pretentious tastes: an audiobook of James Joyce’s “thrills” him, but sends his mother to sleep.
He also knows a lot about wine, which he is apparently able to taste even though it is “decanted through a healthy placenta.” Mc Ewan enjoys peppering his novels with mouth-watering descriptions of food and drink (I often dream of the seafood stew in ), and he hasn’t found a reason not to do so, quite elaborately, even from this undeveloped perspective.
Still, it looks like Mc Ewan, this once at least, has decided to shuffle off the mortal coil of realism in favor of an impossible point of view.
I applaud his new purpose because the payoffs are worth it.Mc Ewan replaces the smiles, blushes, glances, and head movements that are the fiction writer’s traditional arsenal of “telling” descriptors with even more telling organ movements.A moment of hesitation in a conversation is rich with unspoken feeling: “my mother’s heart begins a steady acceleration.And I refuse to believe he picked all that up from podcasts.Any realism in this novel is undermined by the simple fact that a fetus know what this fetus knows.Not just faster, but louder, like the hollow knocking sound of faulty plumbing. Her bowels are loosening, with a squeaky stretching sound, and higher up, somewhere above my feet, juices race down winding tubes to unknown destinations.” The body doesn’t lie.Likewise, sex between the murderous lovers becomes a particularly disturbing turbulence when described from within.bored me with its clunky symbolism and Dickensian social commentary.As Tessa Hadley put it in her review of that novel, “[r]ealism seems beside the point after a while: it’s more like being inside the workings of an allegory or a parable.” But at a sentence-level, Mc Ewan’s work remains that of an old-fashioned realist.As for plot, it’s straightforward enough, “the classic tale of murder and deceit” we were promised in the blurb: pregnant Trudy has taken on a lover, Claude.Together, they plan to murder Trudy’s husband, John, who is also Claude’s brother. Money, of course, in the form of the marital home, a “Georgian pile on boastful Hamilton Terrace” whose “six thousand aching square feet will buy you seven million pounds,” even in its dilapidated state.