After reading the conclusion of The Cement Garden along with Castle in the Forest last year I have come to the conclusion that I am a prude. I understand the way that crude sexual acts can be used to deliberately provoke a reaction in the reader, but that doesn’t mean you have to like them.
The finale of the Cement Garden sees an act of incest that is clumsy but reasonably graphic. Of course it symbolises the complete breakdown not just of authority but morality of the four orphans. But is also leaves you wondering why it is necessary to spell it out so clearly when paraphrasing or mentioning it in passing would have done just as well.
At the end you hear the slamming of car doors and the people heading towards the door and you know that the end of the summer has resulted in the end of their freedom. Derek, Julie’s boyfriend might have been the catalyst but the result probably would have been the same anyway.
You feel some sympathy but also a fair amount of horror at what has happened to the teenagers in the wake of their parent’s death.
A review will follow soon…