Staff Review: Lessons

by Ian McEwan
Review by Jo

McEwan has written some strange little books in the last few years but Lessons is a great return to form. Following Roland Baines over seven decades, it jumps back and forward through time, with the historical moment richly captured.

We see Roland’s life shaped by an early trauma, and buffeted along by the course of history, but McEwan doesn’t judge or tell us what to think. He gently lays out the events in all their complexity for us to mull over. There’s so much to think about in here, and there’s something profound about the way Roland drifts through life – just letting it happen to him. Lessons is an intense, compassionate and enormously satisfying read that will stay with you long after you close the covers. An extraordinary investigation of an ordinary life.