amazon) and enjoyed the weird but gripping story (this is a spoiler free blog. You can find an elaborate analyses here literature ).
The novel is a very dark family story, maybe the novel´s message is: "Family first", even that the protagonists went way to far. The story is about Julie, who is 17, Jack (15), Sue (13) & Tom ( around 6). The book is written in first person and narrated by the pubescent Jack, which is part of the challenges of the book. The kids live isolated in a house in an abandoned area far from the civilization. Early in the book their live changes dramatically which starts a chain of events which get more & more disturbing.
McEwan created a strange and unique - almost exotic - atmosphere that reminds me a bit of Daniel Defoe`s Robin Crusoe even that the plots are very different. It is a psychological thriller about adolescents in an extreme situation and touches topics like adolescence, puberty, family bindings, exploring sexuality, dilapidation, grief, curiosity and more.
I admire McEwan`s economic but eloquent style. His precise & analytical observations and his almost forensic descriptions remind me also of Nabokov´s Lolita. I could see strong influences from Sigmund Freud, especially the scientist´s insights into the maturation of sexuality. The frequent descriptions of the sexual aspects are intense & honest and belong to the most erotical and poetic I have ever read.
"The Cement Garden" is still an exciting read after all these years. The book is a distburbing masterpiece and belongs to the canon of world literature.
P.S. For illustration I used still from the 1993 same named film with Charlotte Gainsbourg.