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Ian McEwan's Enduring Brotherly Love

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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HE AIN'T HEAVY Bricklayer (artist's rendering); McEwan (inset) Ian McEwan's life just got another unexpected plot twist. The Guardian reports that the award-winning Atonement author has a long lost older brother named Dave Sharp, who works as a bricklayer. In a statement, McEwan said, "We welcomed him and his family into ours and we keep in touch. I am sad he never got the chance to know our parents."

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The tale of how David came to be raised by adoptive parents is itself worthy of a McEwan novel—or at least a quaint New Yorker short story. According to the Guardian's Alex Kumi:

Rose McEwan, the novelist's mother, had given away Ian's older brother, Dave, at a railway station. He was conceived by Ian's father, David, and Rose while she was still married to her first husband.

She had fallen pregnant from her wartime affair with David and wanted to give her baby away before her husband returned home on leave. An advert she placed in a local paper read: "Wanted, home for baby boy, aged one month: complete surrender."

lifting some descriptionsdefensesThomas PynchonEnduring Love

Should McEwan opt to write about his brother, Complete Surrender has a nice ring to it.



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