Book Review : The Cement Garden

The Cement Garden (Kindle Edition)
Author Ian McEwan
Publisher : Vintage
144 pages

In the Cement Garden we discover Jack who declares in the opening sentence “I did not kill my father, but I sometimes think I helped him on his way”.

Jack and his sister Julie are the eldest of four children and they have a younger sister Sue and a brother Tom who is the the youngest.

We learn of their father’s death some time after having ordered a fair number of sacks of cement. Their mother becomes bedridden and we discover how the children cope by themselves with a difficult situation that deteriorates considerably.

Jack narrates the story and is the most clearly delineated of the children and whereas he defies social norms of cleanliness, each of his siblings has his or her own bizarre and dysfunctional way of dealing with a family situation that is coming apart.

The Cement Garden has justly been described as a tour de force of psychological unease and although it’s a short book, that doesn’t mean that it’s either shallow or uninteresting. The author conjures up uncomfortably plausible outcomes that make the Cement Garden rich, disturbing and sometimes difficult to read.

I found it to be an interesting, well written but dark read.

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