In July 2018 Ian McEwan published the short story “Düssel…”. In an interview (McAloon) McEwan has commented that the writing of this 2000-word piece was useful preparation for the writing of the novel

Machines Like Me

(2019): the story’s theme rehearses the key concerns of the novel regarding machine consciousness and the essence of what makes us human.

Published in the New York Review of Books, this first-person narrative focuses on the circumstances leading to the unnamed protagonist’s discovery that Jenny, the woman he loves, is “formed in Düsseldorf”. His account is a five-decades-old memory of a time when the question “are you real?” was allowed before “artificial people were granted full protection under various human rights conventions”.

Published in the


532 words

Citation: Logotheti, Anastasia. "“Düssel…”". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2019 [, accessed 21 June 2024.]

39015 “Düssel…” 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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