I am HAUNTED by this collection and not in any good way. I actually couldn’t keep the book in the house after I read it, I should have buried it in the garden. The protagonists here are often sociopathic perverts and the stories are traumatising. ‘Homemade’ is a very explicit tale of a boastful adolescent boy who has sex with his 10-year-old little sister in order to get one-up on his friend. The whole description of the event is grotesque. Similarly in ‘Butterflies’, an older man accosts a young girl down by a canal to fulfil his sexual needs and then murders her without a second thought. Terrifying and deeply troubling. Not sure this is a recommendation… Obviously very well written and Ian McEwan’s first published works I believe….but yes. Nightmares.
First published in New Review, 1974. Collected in First Love, Last Rites, Cape, 1975