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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ian McEwan’s Brother

posted by on March 27 at 13:01 PM

In case you’re just learning about this—apparently it’s been all over the British press for years—here’s the story as the Telegraph has it.

English novelist Ian McEwan (read Sean Nelson’s terrific piece from 2004 about McEwan here) has a brother he was never told about. (This gets complicated, so pay attention.) McEwan’s brother’s last name is Sharp and he’s six years older than McEwan. He was born to McEwan’s parents, Rose and David, illegitimately, while Rose was married to a soldier who was off fighting in Africa. Since she was married to another man, they put their child up for adoption, and the Sharps adopted him. Then Rose’s husband died in Normandy and she married the man she’d had the affair with, David, and they had a second child, Ian. “He and his brother were brought up only 20 miles apart but in ignorance of each other.

As a 50-something-year-old adult, Sharp—who is a bricklayer and who’s first name is also, confusingly, David—tracked down his brother, the famous novelist, who had never been told by his parents of his older brother. Their father had died, so McEwan couldn’t introduce Sharp to him. But their mother was still alive, so McEwan took Sharp to meet her. Only thing was, by this point, she’d developed dementia.

McEwan hasn’t spoken about the whole thing until now.

Asked whether the tale could have formed the plot of his own books, McEwan said: “People say that, but I’ve not written a novel as good as this. It’s more a Victorian novel, more Dickensian.”

RSS icon Comments


2004 link goes nowhere.

Posted by elswinger | March 27, 2007 1:58 PM

Many, many years ago, when I was twenty-three, I was married to a widow who was pretty as can be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red, my father fell in love with her, and soon they too were wed.

This made my dad my son-in-law and really changed my life,
now my daughter was my mother, cause she was my father's wife.
to complicate the matter, even though it brought me joy,
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy.

My little baby then became a brother-in-law to Dad,
and so became my uncle, though it made me very sad.
for if he was my uncle, then that also made him brother
of the widow's grown-up daughter, who, of course, was my stepmother.

Father's wife then had a son who kept him on the run,
and he became my grandchild, for he was my daughter's son.
my wife is now my mother's mother, and it makes me blue,
because, although she is my wife, she's my grandmother, too.

Now if my wife is my grandmother, then I'm her grandchild,
and every time I think of it, it nearly drives me wild,
cause now I have become the strangest case you ever saw
as husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa!

Posted by Gurldoggie | March 27, 2007 2:33 PM

The link to the Sean Nelson article:

Posted by Christin | March 27, 2007 3:03 PM

Sorry about that--link's fixed now.

Posted by christopher frizzelle | March 27, 2007 3:26 PM

Gurldoggie, we must be related, 'cause only my family knows that song.

Posted by elm | March 27, 2007 3:49 PM

Yeah, this is old news. I think even one of the dateline/20-20 TV newsmags did something on it (though probably it was a repurposed BBC piece). Kind of got lost in the war coverage at the time.

Posted by Joe | March 28, 2007 11:53 AM

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