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--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché.

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Revue de presse

"McEwan [has] a powerful talent that is both weird and wonderful." --Boston Sunday Globe

"Ian McEwan's fictional world combin[es] the bleak, dreamlike quality of de Chirico's city-scapes with the strange eroticism of canvases by Balthus. Menace lies crouched between the lines of his neat, angular prose, and weird, grisly things occur in his books with nearly casual aplomb." --The New York Times

"McEwan is a splendid magician of fear." --Village Voice Literary Supplement --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Présentation de l'éditeur

Ian McEwan's Somerset Maugham Award-winning collection First Love, Last Rites brought him instant recognition as one of the most influential voices writing in England today. Taut, brooding, and densely atmospheric, these stories show us the ways in which murder can arise out of boredom, perversity can result from adolescent curiosity, and sheer evil might be the solution to unbearable loneliness. These tales are as horrifying as anything written by Clive Barker or Stephen King, but they are crafted with a lyricism and intensity that compel us to confront our secret kinship with the horrifying. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 27 commentaires
24 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
macabre depravity a la grotesque. 16 juillet 2005
Par Cipriano - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I would begin my review by saying that if you are going to begin a journey into the wonderful world of McEwan, don't begin here. Then I would say that he is one of my favorite writers, EVER. He is incredibly good, but I am afraid that none of these eight stories really resonated with me. I would say that they don't represent how well he can write. If you began here, you might assume that McEwan is somewhat fixated with sexual rites of passage themes, when really he isn't.

From a pickled penis, in the first story; to childhood incestuous rape, in the second; to a third story (perhaps the best of all) with the least amount of sexual innuendo; to the fourth, depicting uncontrollable on-stage public sexual intercourse; to the fifth, sexually motivated murder; to the sixth, about a masturbatory recluse; to the seventh, the "art" of which, eluded me almost entirely; to the eighth, involving what I consider child abuse brought on by a self-obsessed, cross-dressing caregiver.

Are the stories written well? Hell yes.

McEwan is exquisite (present tense) and this book (1975) proves that "exquisiteness" is not just a recent development with him. It is the subject matter that I find objectionable. And not so much in an "immoral" sense as much as in an "unappealing" sense. In these stories he is dealing with such grotesque imagery, that I find it difficult to find these particular stories applicable. For the most part, they are about the kind of stuff that even the newspapers omit from their most disturbing back pages.

Maybe I don't want to look that close. Perhaps I don't want to read about how some guy "tosses himself off" in the closet of some attic somewhere, or how in a shadowy tunnel along a river, a young girl is sexually victimized and then slid into the river, like a fish that no one wanted, because it was too small for a good meal.

They are fairly brutal stories, I'm not kidding.

But McEwan is SUCH a great writer. If I have caught you in time, read him elsewhere, and then come back here when you are in love with him. And trust him.
21 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A bold, maudlin, and strangely brilliant set of stories 7 mai 2003
Par Daniel Jolley - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Approaching Ian McEwan for the first time, it seemed only natural that I begin with this collection of eight short stories, his first published work. I must say that McEwan leaves quite an impression on the reader. In fact, these stories are quite unlike anything I have ever read. One is hard pressed to determine just how to feel about the stories told here, attempting to integrate shock, sympathy, understanding, depression, ennui, enlightenment, and all manner of other reactions into some sort of vision of enlightenment. The first thing that becomes apparent is McEwan's boldness and unique vision; he uses some words that never find themselves into the published works of most other writers, but his employment of them seems to be a matter of craft rather than an act of gratuitousness. The very first story, Homemade, is a somewhat disturbing and surreal account of incest, with a lad seeking to understand the type of world his adventurous friend lives in engaging his younger sister in an act of sexual exploration. The story ends quite suddenly, leaving me to interpret the deeper meaning completely on my own. Solid Geometry is sort of the odd duck in this collection, with its theoretical mathematics feel distinguishing it from its counterparts. The story works quite well in describing the protagonist's uneasy relationship with his wife, but the kicker at the end comes off as just a little too esoteric. Cocker at the Theatre is the most outré (and short) story in the collection; personally, I didn't get a lot out of it, but it does demand attention.
For the most part, the reader stays on morbid ground. Some have described these tales as having a definite aspect of horror to them, but I would not equate them with horror at all. Each story seems to bear the weight of an imperfect world on its shoulders, and the visions of reality that pour forth throughout the book are maudlin and disturbing without being horrifying in the normal sense of the word. Last Day of Summer is a perfect example, and as such it is clearly my favorite of the bunch. We gain insight into the lives of ordinary people in a setting that is slightly out of the ordinary, and the story seems to me to bristle with a few soft strokes of existentialism, particularly at the end. Butterflies is an almost equally atmospheric offering, creating an atmosphere of moral decay and slight madness around the drowning of a young girl and the unfolding account of the protagonist's insight into that death. Conversation With a Cupboard Man is quite impressive, telling the story of a man so over-protected by his mother for the first two decades of his life that he cannot adjust to modern life on his own, longing to return to a childhood in which his needs are met and he is sheltered. The title story is a relatively weak piece compared to its companions here, failing to provide me with the insight I was expecting from it. Finally, there is Disguises, yet another disturbing story of over-protection and sexual innuendo, covering a boy's desire to break away from the significantly odd atmosphere of his home life and his struggle to adjust at the crossroads of his public and private worlds.
McEwan exhibits what I consider something of a singular style in his writing. Oftentimes throwing together a string of fairly short sentences, he nevertheless avoids any sign of choppiness and proves amazingly efficient at making even the shortest sentences say a great deal. The subject matter of a few of these stories might bother some readers, particularly the incestuous relationships that are implied if not laid out in a few of the stories, but McEwan unwinds his short dramas in an impressively literary style, granting even the most controversial of subjects a lofty plane on which to evolve. The most disturbing aspects of this collection actually have nothing to do with any overt acts themselves but rather with an evocation of the psychological depths of a number of quite interesting characters. First Love, Last Rites won't pick you up when you're feeling down, as it can cast quite a maudlin spell over the sensitive soul, yet it offers quite a uniquely illuminating study of human nature and the loss of innocence.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Early McEwan, promising but patchy 13 septembre 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
"First Love, Last Rites (FLLR)" is Ian McEwan's first short story collection and while I love virtually every novel he has written so far - "Enduring Love", "Black Dogs" and "Atonement" are truly modern classics - FLLR is very early McEwan, showing promise but lacking the assured confidence of his later works. In this Somerset Maugham Award winning book, McEwan displays all the qualities that have come to characterise his style. Unafraid to break taboos or upset social conventions, he forces the boundaries of acceptability and occasionally goes for the jugular when he employs shock tactics to awaken our natural instinct for the dark and the macabre that lies dormant beneath our consciousness.
The opening vignette "Solid Geometry" is fascinating sci-fi-cum-horror fare. I couldn't help stifling a chuckle at the inventive way in which the protagonist finally "got rid" of his wife. "Homemade" about the awakening of a boy's sexuality via the only means available to him is another winner, both terrifying and funny. "Butterflies" and "Conversations With A Cupboard Man" are more conventional stories about loners and the devastating effect of repression. "Last Day Of Summer" is a gentle reminder that "still waters run deep" with grotesques. I don't think I got the essence of "Cocker At The Theatre" though it seems to be about sexuality and control and how they don't mix. The last two stories are to me the weakest in the collection. The title story seems tame and listless, ie, it goes nowhere, while the closing vignette "Disguises" is too befuddling to make any sense of. Is the aunt just mad or is she a closet cross dresser and a dominatrix in her little mad house ? Too much of a mindbender for me.
"First Love, Last Rites" is a qualified success. The highs are truly excellent but be prepared for a couple of disappointments.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Compelling 4 septembre 2002
Par Steven Reynolds - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Reading McEwan's first collection of short stories is like stepping into the mind of a pervert, and finding yourself right at home. In these grim tales, McEwan explores the cusp of sex and death - a zone less adventurous writers might dismiss as pornographic or even sick. But this isn't pornography; it isn't even erotica. It's psycho-sexual reconnaissance and, as that, quite impressive. McEwan's talent here is to make his monsters human - to reveal the pain and suffering and morbid loneliness which drive these characters to do the things they do. Highly original.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Early Works of a Master 15 mars 2012
Par Dash Manchette - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Back about twenty or so years ago, I read several times that one should not mistake an author for the characters he creates. A good writer, after all, can separate himself from his fiction. The occasion for having read that, again several times, was the publication of Bret Easton Ellis' AMERICAN PSYCHO, in which main character Patrick Bateman's mutilation and torture of others are described in sickening detail.

I had to remind myself of that principle several times while reading the stories in FIRST LOVE, LAST RITES. Ian McEwan, as I know, has children. Not separating the writer from his fiction would otherwise have produced not merely shock, but angst, upon reading the story Homemade, in which a teenage boy cooly decides to introduce himself to sex by raping his younger sister. Or Butterflies, in which a nice little girl tries to befriend a lonely and pathetic man and winds up much the worse for it. Or Disguises, in which a young man realizes that the fun play time he has had with the eccentric aunt who is raising him has really been a grooming for a ring of pedophiles, all the more jarring as the young boy has unwittingly involved his little girl friend on whom he has his first crush.

But perhaps what is most alarming about FIRST LOVE, LAST RITES is that McEwan's writing is so good - so good - that the reader absolutely absorbs the position of the characters. McEwan is a master at not merely getting inside the skin of his characters, but getting us, the readers, inside that skin as well. The teenage boy in Homemade? Until his disturbing decision, he shows the same intrigue and curiosity for that age as I did. The loner in Butterflies? Who has not felt that way? Step by step, McEwan takes us along paths that we have walked in our own lives, feeling the same emotions, until that moment when his characters take a far different turn that (hopefully) the ones we took instead.

This also applies to those stories not quite as macabre (a relative term for this book). Solid Geometry quickly but solidly displays the type of marital relationship that might make one want a spouse to conveniently disappear. And we build up both empathy and sympathy for the new girl in Last Day of Summer to feel the pain of the abrupt loss at the end. Things may be dark in description but come off as captivating and even enticing on the page.

Some of the stories, however, are a tad weak, which I suppose is to be expected in a collection of stories. The title story is ok but lacks the pull and punch of many of the others. Cocker at the Theater simply falls flat. But even the second tier stories are written just so well. FIRST LOVE, LAST RITES was published when McEwan was in his late 20s, and many stories were written a few years before that. That a writer so young could tap into the human emotions with such precision presaged a major talent, and one that McEwan has lived up to. If you want to see a master at the beginning, by all means, check this book out.
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