The Daydreamer – Ian McEwan

After the joy of reading the ‘cross-over’ book Tuck Everlasting I had been wanting to try another one and see if it got to me in the same way. I am not talking Twilight which I know is all the rage, I am talking crossover books that take me back to my childhood favourites such a Roald Dahl. I had turned for another one of the short reads I have been reading amongst the sensation season novels of late and saw that not only was one of them by one of my favourite authors it was also another ‘cross-over’ book and had the quote, by Vogue, “as far fetched and funny as anything by Roald Dahl” so I thought ‘well, why not?’

The Daydreamer is actually Peter Fortune a young boy who though people might see as quite and a little bit subdued, dull and distant is actually a boy who has such an over active imagination he often vanishes off into the land of daydreaming. In fact Peter does this so often that he tends to forget everything around him, what the time is, what day it might be or even who he actually is. In fact it is this part of his personality that makes people label him difficult when really what he is harbouring is actually quite a talent.

After being introduced to Peter which is a comic little opener to the book we then in the following chapters, which read like individual short stories, get to see just how his imagination goes off with him in some wonderfully surreal tales. One day his sister Katie’s evil dolls one day turn on him and try and make him one of them when he gets his own room. One day he swaps places with his very old cat and goes around showing the local cats just who is boss. One day he manages to get rid of all of his family. One day he manages to catch the local burglar causing a suburban wave of fear during a crime spree down The Fortunes road.

In fact what the book is also looking at is things from the eyes of children for adults that read it and through the eyes of others for children that read it. For example The Cat looks at loss and mortality (it is quite sad be warned), The Baby looks at things through a babies eyes and tries to deal with jealousy of older children and The Grown Up looks at the future and sort of touches on puberty and trying to understand adults a bit more which for a child must be a mystery. You could call these modern fables in a way but all done with a human angle whilst being sometimes quirky, sometimes surreal, sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, sometimes disturbing and yet always very entertaining.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would actually recommend that you all give this a go especially if you think you don’t really like McEwan, he appears to be a bit of a marmite author I personally am yet to read anything by him I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. It shows just how much thought McEwan puts into all of his works in terms of getting into differing characters heads.

This book is actually now ten years old but seems incredibly fresh and undated and was a work of his that I hadn’t heard of before and so has been a delightful little find. Which in a way links with my post from the other day about all works by an author… isn’t it lovely when you discover that they have published a book that a) you didn’t own b) hadn’t read and c) had never even heard of? Lovely stuff! Has this ever happened to you with one of you favourite authors? How do you rate cross-over fiction and indeed the author Ian McEwan?



Filed under Books of 2009, Ian McEwan, Review, Vintage Books

13 responses to “The Daydreamer – Ian McEwan

  1. This sounds enchanting! I have only read Atonement by Ian McEwan and although I didn’t love it, I did love parts of it, and definitely willing to try more of his work.

    I am quite obsessive with knowing a lot about books as in who has written what and when are they writing something new so it’s not often that I am surprised but I had never heard of this either. Author surprises are lovely!

    • I am interested on your thoughts on Atonements and the bits you didnt love as I loved it so much! I do prefer On Chesil Beach though which is a bit controversial an opinion I believe ha!

      You summed it up delightfully, author suprises are indeed lovely.

      • Looking back at my notes, Simon, I enjoyed parts more than others – the second half dragged a little although picked up in the last 50 pages or so. I liked its commentary on writing and the first half was impeccable. I was not a huge fan of the characters but they redeemed themselves in my opinion in the last section. I haven’t seen the film and wonder how I’ll feel when I eventually do watch it.

      • Oh no did I sound challenging then? I didnt mean to, its just because I searched your blog and couldnt find your thoughts and I love your opinion, sorry Claire!

        The film wasnt bad… wasnt amazing but certainly wasnt bad!

      • Not all all, Simon! I read it back in 2007 and was couldn’t remember why I only loved parts; it was a pre-blogging read and one that I happened to note down my thoughts about in my book journal (I’m not always as disciplined with that as I should be hence why I now blog).

  2. Intriguing; I didn’t know about this book at all, although I’ve read Atonement and a number of his other titles.

  3. I’ve read On Chesil Beach and Saturday, and both were…unique. I don’t ever think I’ll call him a favorite author, but didn’t regret reading them.

  4. I adore McEwan! Have read Amsterdam, which I didn’t particularly care for except it introduced me to his writing style which really attracted me. So read Atonement and On Chesil Beach and really, really loved both! I want to read everything by him someday. ANd this one I’ve never even heard of either! Love the title and the cover that you posted. Will look out for it, surely. THanks.

  5. lizzysiddal

    Oh my relationship with McEwan is in crisis!

    See what I mean?

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