Ian McEwanQUIZ

Ian McEwan


Test your reading knowledge of the internationally renowned author and screenwriter Ian McEwan, featured by The Times in 2008 as one of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945." 

Have a go, and you’re in the running to receive a 30-euro (£25 / $40) gift certificate to spend at Amazon; in case of a tie, a name will be drawn. Deadline: Jan. 30, 2013

Name the novel:

1. June woke from a five-minute doze to find a balding man of severe expression sitting by her bed, notebook in hand.  Where was she?  Who was this person?  What did he want?  That widening, panicky surprise in her eyes communicated itself to me, constricting my responses so that I could not immediately find the reassuring words, and stumbled over them when I did.  But already, before I had finished, she had the lines of causality restored to her, she had her story again, and she had remembered that her son-in-law had come to record it.



2. He rolled onto his side and wondered whether he had it in him to masturbate, whether it might serve him well to have his mind cleared for the business ahead.  He made a few absent-minded strokes, then gave up.  These days he seemed to lack the dedication and clarity or emptiness of mind, and the action itself seemed quaintly outmoded and improbable, like lighting a fire by rubbing two sticks.


3. The police are saying that two hundred and fifty thousand people have gathered in central London.  Someone for the rally is insisting on one million by the middle of the afternoon.  Both sources agree that people are still pouring in. An elated marcher, who turns out to be a famous actress, raises her voice above the din of chanting and cheers to say that never in the history of the British Isles has there been such a huge assembly.


4. She was doing all she could to prevent a muscle in her leg from tightening, but it was happening without her, of its own accord, as inevitable and powerful as a sneeze. It was not painful as it clenched and went into mild spasm, this treacherous band of muscle, but she felt if was letting her down, giving the first indication of the extent of the problem. He surely felt the little storm beneath his hand, for his eyes widened minutely, and the tilt of his eyebrows and the soundless parting of his lips suggested that he was impressed, even in awe, as he mistook her turmoil for eagerness.


5. They often said they found it difficult to remember that the other was a separate person. When they looked at each other they looked into a misted mirror. When they talked of the politics of sex, which they did sometimes, they did not talk of themselves. It was precisely this collusion that made them vulnerable and sensitive to each other, easily hurt by the rediscovery that their needs and interests were distinct.


6. At first they saw nothing . . . . then everyone could hear it, and there was a collective murmur and shifting of weight as they caught sight of an indefinable shape, no more than a grayish smudge against the white, almost a hundred yards away.  As the shape took form, the waiting group fell silent again.  No one could quite believe what was emerging. Surely it was a trick of mist and light. No one in this age of telephones and motorcars could believe that giants seven or eight feet high existed in crowded Surrey.


7. Never before had he encountered idealists in such concentration and he was by turns intrigued, embarrassed, constrained.  When Pickett asked him on the third night to talk about his work, he stood up to speak.  He described the Centre and the quadruple-helix rooftop wind turbine, plausibly claiming it as his own initiative.


cover8. My needs were simple I didn't bother much with themes or felicitous phrases and skipped fine descriptions of weather, landscapes and interiors. I wanted characters I could believe in, and I wanted to be made curious about what was to happen to them. Generally, I preferred people to be falling in and out of love, but I didn't mind so much if they tried their hand at something else. It was vulgar to want it, but I liked someone to say 'Marry me' by the end.


9. The beginning is simple to mark. We were in sunlight under a turkey oak, partly protected from a strong, gusty wind. I was kneeling on the grass with a corkscrew in my hand, and Clarissa was passing me the bottle - a 1987 Daumas Gassac. This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the time map...


10. Which actor did NOT appear in a film adaptation of a McEwan novel?

a) Vanessa Redgrave
b) Daniel Craig
c) Ewan McGregor
d) Richard E. Grant
e) Rupert Everett
f) Helen Mirren
g) Anthony Hopkins
h) Christopher Walken