Alfred A. Knopf and Vintage Books will publish Ian McEwan’s new novel, LESSONS. Spanning the last seventy years, LESSONS is a powerful meditation on history and humanity told through the prism of one man’s lifetime from the Booker Prize-winning author of ATONEMENT. “It’s a thrill to have Ian McEwan join the Knopf list,” says Knopf EVP and Publisher Reagan Arthur. “LESSONS is a deeply moving and exciting new novel that captures the full arc of a man’s life as it unfolds against the backdrop of our tumultuous times, a life filled with moral quandaries, heartbreak, and ultimately, resolution. Ian remains at the height of his powers with this sweeping and profound novel.”
From the end of the Second World War to the Suez and Cuban Missile Crises, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to climate change and the current pandemic, McEwan’s protagonist, Roland, 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, family and friends, sex, politics, and love.
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? What does parenthood, that “double helix of labor and love”, teach us about ourselves? And what can we really learn from the traumas of the past? Both epic and intimate, LESSONS is a deeply affecting novel about love, loss, and ambition.
Ian McEwan is the critically acclaimed author of seventeen novels and two short story collections. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; The Cement Garden; Enduring Love; Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize; Atonement; Saturday; On Chesil Beach; Solar; Sweet Tooth; The Children Act; Nutshell; and Machines Like Me, which was a number-one bestseller. Atonement, Enduring Love, The Children Act and On Chesil Beach have all been adapted for the big screen.