Making sense of our reading.
We discussed the credibility of the narrator, Charlie, whom some thought was not very bright, especially with money left in a suitcase under the bed and mispending his inheritance on a AI machine. If you can't believe in the narrator then the narration is on a rocky foundation. Miranda is also introduced early on as a liar and later as a perjurer. Two main characters with fatal flaws. The reader is distanced from the principal protagonists and left wondering.The rewriting of history introduced unnecessary confusion in the story though the idea that Alan Turing could have brought more benefits to the country had he lived was interesting. There were several nested stories like Mark's adoption and the Gorringe case which acted as subplots, possible to relieve the main plot. Did they distract or increase reader attention?We mentioned the Fankenstein theme of the creature outwitting the creator and turning in his friends through honesty compared to their dishonesty. Morality was a main theme covering sex, stock market play, and perjury. Yet there was an incongruous happy ending rather than justice served.It was argued that this was a dystopian novel since it demonstrated that AI and human intelligence were incompatible.Tom
I read this book about a year ago, just before book club meetings were cancelled due to Covid, so I may have forgotten parts. The story is set in the 1980s in an alternative history timeline in which the UK lost the Falklands War, Alan Turing is still alive and the Internet, social media and self-driving cars already exist. The story revolves around the android Adam and its relationship with its owners, which involves the formation of a love triangle. In my opinion, the basis for the story is interesting but McEwan somehow fails to pull it off. As Tom mentioned, when you have two unreliable and hence unbelievable narrators, the plot can easily fall apart. For me, it was so far-fetched that it was difficult to get involved, yet at the same time, it wasn't sci-fi. When an author like McEwan writes so many books, they can’t all be great. This is not one of his best.
Agreed with Renee that the narrative has its basis on a triangular love story. The AI subplot is squeaky and opportunistic. It is not helped by having less than credible narrators. Maybe McEwan should concentrate on the human relationships elements in his stories.Tom
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