This is not McEwan’s best book; Atonement remains the high point for me. Nonetheless, it’s a razor-sharp look at the minutiae of a life in London in the 21st century.
It kept me turning the pages, as all of McEwan’s books do, and the writing is excellent, as McEwan’s always is. The story is interesting enough—a “day in the life” in which a chance encounter on the street causes the protagonist’s life to take a dark turn—but it just skirts the edges of silliness.
For me, the stand-out part of the book is a depiction of a visit to the protagonist’s mother, who has Alzheimer’s. I read an article by Ian McEwan years ago about his mother, who had Alzheimer’s. The article made me cry, and that part of this book did, too. It’s a painfully honest but exceedlingly tender portrait in a book which is otherwise somewhat cool.