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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

The Power of McEwan’s Images

Ian McEwan is, perhaps, the most austere of writers, and one who can pack a single sentence with imagery, meaning, and echoes.

december 31, 2011

The furthest stars of the Milky Way were visible, not as a scattering of fine dust, but as distinct points of light which made the brighter constellations appear uncomfortably close. The very darkness was tangible, warm and cloying. Mary clasped her hands behind her head and watched the sky, and Caroline sat forward eagerly, her gaze moving proudly between Mary’s face and the heavens, as though she were personally responsible for their grandeur. ‘I spend hours out here.’ She seemed to wheedle for praise, but Mary did not even blink.

– Ian McEwan, “The Comfort of Strangers”

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