My introduction to this author was in reading his Booker Prize winning novel Amsterdam last year. So when I saw that he had a new book available on Netgalley, I clicked and requested it immediately without knowing the synopsis or length. The title of his latest publication is My Purple Scented Novel; however, despite the name.it’s not a novel but rather a short story narrated by an author about the relationship between him and another, arguably more successful author, and the case of a novel they both share. Saying more would give the plot away and despite its brevity, McEwan’s fiction is definitely worth the read as the experience of his story is more than my description of it.
I have seen other (longer) short stories published as books but this one is very short, and was previously published in The New Yorker magazine so I could understand the hesitation to purchase this as a standalone print. According to Goodreads, however, My Purple Scented Novel was published to celebrate the author’s 70th birthday, and perhaps to introduce him to a new generation of book-buyers who might have wanted to but never tried out his particular brand of tongue-in-cheek fiction. True to form, this story has the qualities that characterize other great works – well crafted, complex characters who evoke ambiguous reactions from the reader, situations that provoke commentary on social and political order, and I personally enjoy the confession style narrative in which the story is told, a impersonal man unveiling himself, only to reveal the darkness that begs the question, “Is he wrong to commit the crime or to confess it?”
Title: My Purple Scented Novel
Author: Ian McEwan
Date Published: June 19, 2018
I read an uncorrected proof courtesy of Netgalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review, which I tried to convey above.
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