McEwan's Only Childhood: Development of Ian McEwan's Metaplot

Bernie C. Byrnes

Research output: Book/ReportBook


n 2002 Paupers' Press published The Work Of Ian McEwan: A Psychodynamic Approach. In it Bernie C. Byrnes traced the `metaplot' of Ian McEwan's fiction and offered psychodynamic interpretations of his published work, culminating in the Booker prize-winning Amsterdam (1998). Subsequently McEwan published two more books: Atonement (2001) and Saturday (2005), and she responded by writing an addendum on these works (also published by Paupers' Press). At that time she claimed that as a `diminishing amount' of new unconscious material was being included in his writing, it could be argued that her thesis on his work had reached its conclusion. However, just as it seemed that he had come to the end of the gifts from his unconscious, McEwan discovered he had an estranged brother. The revelation of David Sharp's existence has made it possible for her to review her previous hypotheses about the metaplot. The earlier explanations still hold good, based as they are on information from a careful study of his work, but the appearance of David adds a new dimension to his `unfolding story'. Bernie C. Byrnes argues here that David Sharp's secret existence has had a profound influence on McEwan's creativity from the beginning and traces its effect through his fiction, up to and including his most recent publication On Chesil Beach (2007).
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPaupers' Press
Number of pages63
ISBN (Print)0946650942, 978-0946650941
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'McEwan's Only Childhood: Development of Ian McEwan's Metaplot'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this