The Cement Garden Background

The Cement Garden Background

The Cement Garden is Ian McEwan's 1978 novel that explores complex themes of maturing, family, and dealing with loss. The novel follows Jack, the narrator, and his siblings, as they attempt to grow up without having parents. The novel is simultaneously a unique coming-of-age novel and thriller and has been adapted into both a film and play, and incorporated into a well-known Madonna song, "What It Feels Like For a Girl."

Prior to writing The Cement Garden, McEwan was a prolific short fiction writer. After his editor heard that he had just completed his first novel, she asked him to send the novel in. McEwan said no. "I can't imagine what I was doing" he said. And the editor said: 'Well, what if I got on a plane, stayed with a friend at the workshop, and he happened to leave your novel on the table?' To that, McEwan said O.K. It was then the editor inquired what he title would be. McEwan had no idea. The editor suggested what we now know the novel by - The Cement Garden. "It hadn't even occurred to me, the business of a title …" McEwan said.

The novel was met with tremendous acclaim upon release and was both a financial and critical success.The novel was also adapted into a film directed by Andrew Birkin and starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Andrew Robertson. Says the Washington Post Book World: "[The novel] Possesses the suspense and chilling impact of Lord of the Flies." The novel has since become a cult hit.

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