Ian McEwan: First Love, Last Rites

(1903 words)

Like many other successful novelists-to-be, Ian McEwan's first publication was a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites (1975). These eight tales circle the themes of sex and death, as the title suggests; indeed, what appears to fascinate McEwan in his early work is the danger lurking beneath a calm surface, like the cold, threatening shivers of deep water in “Last day of summer”. Evil slips into these stories so imperceptibly that it is this perspective the reader unwittingly takes, and from which these tales unfold. McEwan's insistence on an unnamed narrator in all but the last story, “Disguises”, further serves the infiltration of the character into the mind of the reader. In this respect, McEwan's …

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Gildersleeve, Jessica. "First Love, Last Rites". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 September 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5130, accessed 27 May 2015.]