This tour de force of psychological unease excavates the ruins of childhood and uncovers things that most adults have spent a lifetime forgetting--or denying.
First the father dies, then the mother. Four children are left alone in a house that looks like a castle stranded among grim high-rises. Free of supervision, free of restraint, they can do and be anything, as long as the house's secret is kept.
Out of blasphemous wishes and hair-raising games, McEwan constructs a novel that is all the more chilling for its offhand approach to the unspeakable.
"A master of menace.... The banality of evil fascinates McEwan [and] he seems anxious to identify the cracked steps, the crucibles of experience that jolt individuals, for better or worse, out of their mortal skins."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review