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BookBrowse Reviews Lessons by Ian McEwan

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Lessons

A novel

by Ian McEwan

Lessons by Ian McEwan X
Lessons by Ian McEwan
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Sep 2022, 448 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jacob Lenz-Avila
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The intricately considered yet inconclusive life of a British poet-musician manqué whose turbulent story plays out post-war to pandemic.

In Ian McEwan's Lessons, Roland Baines succeeds a father and a grandfather who each fought in a World War and is preoccupied with whether he can make enough of a difference in the relatively peaceful milieu he has been dealt. As we follow him coming of age, then coming of old age, from his early student days in British-administrated Tripoli to smuggling forbidden rock records to friends in East Berlin to sitting comfortably numb in an armchair in suburban Clapham during the lockdown, we observe his confrontations with his own mediocrity as an artist and as a force for political good. A classical piano prodigy growing up, he winds up playing "munch music" in a tearoom, and what's sneaking entertainments past Checkpoint Charlie compared to his father-in-law's participation in the White Rose (see Beyond the Book) Nazi-resistance movement?

But mediocrity shouldn't preclude happiness, ...

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