I’m down to my last two McEwan books, and it’s been interesting reading his works in reverse. First Love, Last Rites is his first collection of short stories and it certainly bears his trademark gothic-ness prevalent in his earliest works.
In this collection, we see a brother experimenting with sex (and unfortunately involving his younger sister, which…no), a deformed young man who has been infantilized by his mother, and a teen boy who is encouraged to wear disguises by his guardian (mother?) while trying to navigate a first love. Here, coming-of-age and the sourness of love gone wrong are the most prominent themes in the book.
I can tell that this is a “first effort,” but it’s interesting…I’m definitely glad that Ian McEwan has moved away from the Gothic into less creepy descriptions, scenarios, and endeavors.
You can also read this review on my personal blog, The Universe Disturbed.