Ian McEwan's New Fiction: The Use of Poetry

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It surprised no one to learn that Michael Beard had been an only child, and he would have been the first to concede that he'd never quite got the hang of brotherly feeling. His mother, Angela, was an angular beauty who doted on him, and the medium of her love was food. She bottle-fed him with passion, surplus to demand. Some four decades before he won the Nobel Prize in Physics, he came top in the Cold Norton and District Baby Competition, birth-to-six-months class.

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