Wednesday, January 13, 1999

Black Dogs

by Ian McEwan

The story of a young couple whose estrangement begins almost the day they’re married, as told by the fascinated son-in-law, an orphan himself.  An amazing novel, as universal as the fall of Communism and the memory of genocide and as introspective as one young woman’s discovery of the mystical, of God, inside herself when she encounters some vicious dogs.  As cosmic as the problem of pure evil and as ordinary as a bickering couple.  Beautifully written, masterfully paced, and told with just the right amount of tension mixed with a soothing degree of acceptance.  Each character is fully realized, and the dialogue perfect in its realism as well as its restraint.  McEwan lets the characters reveal themselves, though their actions as well as actual descriptions of each other, and the subtleties, and potential misunderstandings, are complex and brilliant.

five stars

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