Ian McEwan: “My Purple Scented Novel” (1334 words)


Ian McEwan’s “My Purple Scented Novel” is a short story of 4,300 words published in the New Yorker in March 2016. It was commissioned by curator Thomas Demand for inclusion in the printed catalogue of the exhibition “L’Image Volée” (The Stolen Image), a group show (Milan, Mar-Aug 2016). A tale of betrayal and deceit which revolves around literary theft and artistic antagonism, the story is narrated in the first person, reminiscent of the stories in First Love, Last Rights (1975), the collection which established McEwan’s literary reputation.

Thematising, as Demand requested, “unrepentant or guiltless theft”, the story was the product of a creative …

Citation: Logotheti, Anastasia. "“My Purple Scented Novel”". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 November 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38807, accessed 28 July 2021.]

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