Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book Beginning: The Child in Time by Ian McEwan

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

EARLY BIRDS: I am experimenting with getting this post up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. We'll try it this way for a couple of months to see if people like the option of early posting. If you have feelings one way or the other, please comment.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I am trying to follow all Book Beginning participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

MR. LINKY: Please leave a link to your post below. If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.


Subsidizing public transport had long been associated in the minds of both government and the majority of its public with the denial of individual liberty. The various services collapsed twice a day at rush hour and was quicker, Stephen found, to walk from his flat to Whitehall and then to take a taxi.

-- The Child in Time by Ian McEwan. That is not the kind of beginning you would expect for a book about a couple whose life is shattered when their toddler is snatched from them.

The Child in Time won the 1987 Costa Book of the Year Award. The subject is horrifying, but McEwan is such a master storyteller that reading it is bearable. It is really a beautiful story.


  1. This is a book by this author that I haven't I must! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Yes, an unusual opening - but the language is very much McEwan...

  3. Intriguing opening! I love Ian McEwan's works (his writing is especially exquisite) but I haven't gotten around to this one yet.

    My Friday Book Memes

  4. Sometimes I think that it would be faster to walk to certain places during rush hour too.

  5. I'm sure that's true about London! I loved On Chesil Beach but I haven't read this one yet.

  6. That is definitely an opening you wouldn't expect for this sort of book. Very interesting!

    Wendy @ Escape Into Fiction

  7. Haven't heard of this book--thanks for bringing it to my attention. Have a great weekend!

  8. It's not a very exciting beginning. Almost seems a bit dull.

  9. Hi Gilion,

    I am ashamed to admit that I have never read any of Ian McEwan's books,despite his arguably being, one of the finest British writers of his generation.

    I must admit that I sneaked a peek at the synopsis for this one and there are so many different cover versions, that it is hard to choose a favourite, although I think the one you have featured is quite poignant and thought provoking.

    As you say, the first lines of this book just don't prepare the reader for the horrors to come and I don't know if I would carry on reading based just on those few lines, without having the luxury of the synopsis as well.

    It is good to see that public transport is as reliable now, as it was back when this book was written, in the 1980's.

    I have added this one to my reading list, thanks for featuring it and I hope that you are enjoying the read.


  10. I'm new to Book Beginnings but loving it! Great way to end the week with a sneak peak at how Authors begin their books!

  11. That is a tough subject to write or read about.

  12. Wow, what a tough premise to write about. Thanks so much for sharing this book and for hosting every week!

  13. Some beginnings are like that, but I'm sure this will be a decent read anyway.

  14. That sounds like a painful book from what you've added. I can't handle paiful books about children. I came over from elizabeth having gotten news about your hop today.



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