Lunch with the FT: Ian McEwan By Caroline Daniel.Posted: August 30, 2012
Every weekend in the Arts Section of the Financial Times there is a special column named “Lunch with the FT” which, more than a regular interview, is an informal conversation between its editors and a relevant author, business man, artist or any person with an interesting public life. Depending on the topic, an editor for one of the newspaper sections hosts the lunch describing the restaurant and the food and at the end even the details of the bill are published. This style offers a glimpse of the taste of the guests regarding food and the way they treats a lunch interview, since some are relaxed, others serious or discrete, etc.
The list of guest is impressive including the Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei, Economics Nobel Prize Winner Paul Krugmann, former head of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, Hair Mogul Vidal Sassoon and actors Isabella Rosselini, Dustin Hoffman to name a few.
The lunch with the famous writer Ian McEwan is full of interesting insights of his work and life, including a difficult childhood and family problems. The article talks about McEwan’s work that involves 13 novels including Atonement which was adapted into a film that wins an Oscar.
A recurrent theme in McEwan’s novels is an unexpected event or an accident that changes radically the life of its characters, particularly in Saturday (2006) and Enduring Love (1997). His writings can also be full of black humor with complex personal relationships such as a twist in love affairs as is shown in his novella Amsterdam (1999).
His books also have political content like the environment, the war in Iraq as well as terrorism. Like many other British writers, in the interview he revels his fascination with spies even if “he never wanted to become one”. The latest novel one soon to be published Sweet Tooth is about MI5. The article mentions part of his research for his novels about spies, for which he talked to the famous spy writer John le Carré who he admires for reflecting “the human condition seen through the prism of office politics”,
As a reference, Joseph Conrad, another famous English writer, was also fascinated with these themes of spy and terrorism with his famous novels “The Secret Agent” (1907) and “Under the Western Eyes” (1911).
His new novel Sweet Tooth released in 2012 is well written but I expected more from McEwan.