Somerset Maugham Award winner: Dark early fiction by the author of Nutshell—"A splendid magician of fear" (The Village Voice Literary Supplement). Taut, brooding, and densely atmospheric, the stories here show us how murder can arise out of boredom, perversity from adolescent curiosity—and how sheer evil can become the solution to unbearable loneliness. These short fiction pieces from the early career of the New York Times–bestselling and Man Booker Prize–winning author of Atonement and On Chesil Beach are claustrophobic tales of childhood, twisted psychology, and disjointed family life as terrifying as anything by Stephen King—and finely crafted with a lyricism and an intensity that compels us to confront our secret kinship with what repels us. "A powerful talent that is both weird and wonderful." —The 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
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by Ian McEwan
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