I’m so pleased this lived up to the hype. I was hooked from the first page, gripping stuff! You are immediately caught up in Evie/Kate’s story. It is told in sections, what is happening now and in flashbacks to her life in Melbourne and the story leading up to her current situation. Evie is being looked after by her uncle Jim, she has only limited recollections of what happened. She has been removed from Melbourne to a small town in the Hawkes Bay of New Zealand, she isn’t sure how she got there. Jim is controlling everything, what she eats, when she can leave the house, he keeps her drugged and she is in hiding. Gradually, through the fog of the drugs she begins to put things together, the events of a night where a young man died, where she was drunk behind the wheel of a car and where Jim turned up holding something.
The mystery of what happened is at the core of this book. It is cleverly and slowly revealed to the reader as the book goes along. I honestly didn’t pick the twist.
This is contemporary, it is interesting and the action just hums along. I was totally hooked on this, read it in two days and am still thinking about it now. Highly recommended if you like a contemporary thriller.
I was delighted to win a hardback copy of this book from the publishers. It is a lovely looking book and with a cover which feels expensively smooth and waxy, it has been a pleasure to hold in my hands as I’ve worked my way through it. I do feel it was work at times! Ian McEwan is an author I almost always enjoy reading, I like his cleverness and the way he places his characters in conflicts of the heart and the mind. This is exactly what he does in this book, lots of moral complexity and a real commentary on the purpose of AI and our decision making in our conscious human way versus the logic of machine learning. Having read Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari I got the distinct impression that that book had made quite the impression on Ian McEwan, there is a quote from the book in this novel and a feel that the conclusions that eventually the machines will overtake us humans is clear in this novel.
Charlie purchases an Adam, a robot who looks and feels and acts human, it is a vast expense, he could have bought a house! Charlie shares a house with Miranda. She is young and gorgeous and Charlie fancies her enormously. He asks her to help form Adam’s personality, they will each be responsible for half of the different facets of his personality, she agrees and this the beginning of their relationship. Adam falls for Miranda but not before warning Charlie that Miranda harbours dark secrets and is not to be entirely trusted. This is the beginning of the story which will twist and turn throughout the early 1980s where the author has altered political history, bought Alan Turing back to life and generally messed around with the past to make it fit his story.
I found sections of the story totally engaging, Charlie and Miranda’s relationship, the arrival of Mark a young boy they decide to adopt, the relationship between Miranda and her unfortunate best friend. The novel tackles so many big issues and yet somehow seems to do so in a slightly distant and removed fashion. Of course there are amazingly clever passages, there are eminently quotable sentences, some of the comments that the characters make to each other are brilliant, but it was missing a heart, a little like Adam.
It is enjoyable but not amazing and that is a bit disappointing.