Saturday, November 17, 2012

All Novels Are Spy Novels: Ian McEwan Talks ‘Sweet Tooth’ and His Life


Nov 15, 2012 

Ian McEwan’s new novel, Sweet Tooth, is full of references to his own life and the Britain of his youth. Maya Jaggi talks spies, finding happiness, and his dark early work with the acclaimed novelist.

In a London taxicab en route to this interview, Ian McEwan watched a cyclist fall headlong from his bike, and as many as 30 people converge on the dazed young man with east Asian features. In any early story by the British writer formerly dubbed “Ian McAbre” for his dark mastery of dread and suspense, this scene could have ended in apocalypse. As the novelist reflects now, “passing strangers might have seized what he had, driven by hunger. When there’s social breakdown, the strong become warlords and the weak go to the wall.”
Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan in March 2010. (Joel Ryan / AP )
Instead, many hands helped the youth to his feet in a moment that touched a witness still basking in London’s Olympic afterglow. “I felt a ballooning sense of love for this city—any city,” McEwan tells me over a latte in the Renaissance hotel at St. Pancras station, its neo-gothic architecture an echo of his virtuoso early fiction. “I want to live in a place where strangers rush to help someone in distress. For it to work, for them not to be cynical, there has to be freedom for individuals and a social contract.”

Full article at The Book Beast.

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