Lessons (Hardback)
  • Lessons (Hardback)
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Lessons (Hardback)

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Hardback 496 Pages / Published: 13/09/2022
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Waterstones Says

An epic tour de force that takes in the key political events of the postwar world, Lessons finds the masterful McEwan addressing the interconnectedness of personal motivation and the merciless onrush of the tide of history.

When the world was still counting the cost of the Second World War and the Iron Curtain had closed, young Roland Baines’s life was turned upside down. 2,000 miles from his mother’s protective love, stranded at an unusual boarding school, his vulnerability attracted piano teacher Miss Miriam Cornell, leaving scars as well as a memory of love that will never fade.

Now, when his wife vanishes, leaving him alone with his tiny son, Roland is forced to confront the reality of his restless existence. As the radiation from Chernobyl spreads across Europe, he begins a search for answers that looks deep into his family history and will last for the rest of his life.

From the Suez Crisis to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the fall of the Berlin Wall to the current pandemic and climate change, Roland sometimes rides with the tide of history, but more often struggles against it. Haunted by lost opportunities, he seeks solace through every possible means – music, literature, friends, sex, politics and, finally, love cut tragically short, then love ultimately redeemed. His journey raises important questions for us all. Can we take full charge of the course of our lives without damage to others? How do global events beyond our control shape our lives and our memories? And what can we really learn from the traumas of the past?

Epic, mesmerising and deeply humane, Lessons is a chronicle for our times – a powerful meditation on history and humanity through the prism of one man’s lifetime.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781787333970
Number of pages: 496
Weight: 742 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 43 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Lessons should have made the Booker longlist (and shortlist) but no matter. It marks a significant new phase in McEwan's already astonishingly productive career - and may well be remembered as one of the finest humanist novels of its age. * New Statesman *
A tour de force of breadth... McEwan writes with invigorating alertness about social and political shifts over the past 70 years. * Sunday Times *
Superb... A wonderful author has delivered another mesmerising, memorable novel. * Independent *
McEwan's prose always goes down like a cool drink, and its content is often trenchant...I'm delighted to have added this thoughtful, touching and historically grounded novel to my bookshelf. -- Lionel Shriver * Financial Times *
The Booker-winning author has woven multiple versions of himself into Lessons, his 500-page masterpiece. -- Andrew Billen * The Times *
A moving and masterful work that captures the essence of McEwan....The book's psychological astuteness and elegant prose, is a thrill to behold. * Irish Independent *
Compassionate and gentle, and so bereft of cynicism it feels almost radical.... -- Beejay Silcox * Guardian *
McEwan's deft, descriptive prose charts the complexity of growing up and finding one's place in an ever-shifting world * Cultur Whisper *
[A] big, detailed, sweep of history: starting in the aftermath of World War Two and ending in lockdown. And there's lots going on here other than history too - family drama, tales from boarding school, and a vanishing wife * You Magazine, Mail on Sunday *
Lessons triumphantly achieves its primary aim of conveying the "commonplace and wondrous" intertwining of global history and everyday life. * Daily Telegraph *
One of his most humane and agreeable [novels]. * Scotsman *
[Lessons is] an epic tale with domesticity at its centre, encompassing a swathes of history, designed to make you think of the impact of events have on you and, in turn, the impact you make on the world. * List *
Lessons spans a long life and recounts each event in details... [McEwan's] skilful writing makes us keen to turn the pages. * Daily Express *
[A] deeply absorbing book... Roland emerges as a vivid and sympathetic creation. * Economist *
Lessons is a consistently enjoyable read, written...with McEwan's fearsomely intelligent fluency. Roland's shifting perspective on his own past is brilliantly done... here is a whole, unruly life between the covers of single book: a literary feat of undeniable majesty. * Spectator *
Lessons... [is] so beautifully done as to provide abundant proof of why McEwan still occupies that number-one spot. * Reader's Digest *
Lessons is deep and wide, ambitious and humble, wise and substantial. It is, to my mind, McEwan's best novel in 20 years because it is so alert to human texture and complexity... It marks a significant new phase in McEwan's already astonishingly productive career. * New Statesman *
Magnificent and moving, Lessons is up there with McEwan's greatest works. 9/10 * Independent *
Lessons is easily McEwan's most accomplished novel since Atonement... he offers intelligent reflection on his novel's evergreen themes * The Times *
Lessons has the wonderful freshness that comes when an author tries something new - along with McEwan's customary wit, insight and compassion. * Sunday Express *

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“One man’s trials and tribulations through world history.”

Roland, a young boy amid the aftermath of World War Two is flung away from his mother into a boarding school where he is both liberated and isolated. However, his predicament attracts his piano teacher’s attention... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 27

“One man’s life through history.”

A fascinating look at one man’s life with the backdrop of historical events during the last century. The material included could have made a fascinating series better allowing the reader to concentrate on the life... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 10

“Sensitive and thought-provoking”

This sensitively-written novel, spanning many decades, is dense and (for me) better enjoyed at a leisurely pace. It tells the story of Roland, from his early-childhood expat life in Libya, to time at an English... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 9

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