Ian McEwan: love him or hate him?

Recently, I read a post over at Dolce Bellezza about On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. I read this book some time ago and the characters really annoyed me. As my comment on this post stated:
This novel really annoyed me. I felt like grabbing these two kids and yelling at them! “see what happens when you don’t COMMUNICATE!!!” aaahh!

I switched between hating him and hating her. I don’t think that was McEwan’s intention but my god! Pull it TOGETHER! It’s JUST sex, not a lobotomy. *sigh*…. maybe my reactions to books I read are sometimes too aggressive..

Bellezza agreed with me and started a discussion on Briony in Atonement who the overwhelming majority seem to agree is a self-centered, manipulative little brat.

I love Ian McEwan novels and am slowly making my way through then all, but after reading this post it made me realise that I find most of his characters trying, yet I can't stop reading his books. 

In Amsterdam that characters weren't that likeable, nor in Saturday. I found the the descriptions of playing tennis (or was it squash?) in Saturday, long and boring. The event that happened later at the house involving his daughter just made me mad. It didn't seem to have a point.

In The Child in Time I just felt pity for the parents.. to lose a child would be heartbreaking and watching how their lives fell apart because of this was just so sad. I found the endless theories of quantum physics interesting at first, then a bit much. I also was very unhappy with the ending in this novel as the mystery was never solved. Obviously that was not the point of the story, it was about how this event affected these people and living with "never knowing what happened" rather than a neat, happy ending but I still struggled with this. 

Atonement was the only novel by McEwan that I can genuinely say I loved despite how angry Briony made me. 

So after much thinking, why do I want to keep reading McEwan's novels? obviously I have a problem with his characters and their life choices, I have a problem with his long winded descriptions of things and yet I keep buying his books. Contradiction? 

To be fair I love the way all of his books seem to start with one small event that sends things spiraling out of control. It reminds me how all of our choices, no matter how little or insignificant they may seem at the time, can have long reaching effects on our lives. Maybe that is what keeps me going back?

What do you think of McEwan's style? how many of Ian McEwan's characters do you love? and how many have you found yourself hating? Is it a good thing that he creates such strong emotion in his readers? or bad that it is in a negative way? what do you think?
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