The only other McEwan book I’ve read is Amsterdam and there was a shift in pace with that book as it reached the end and the same ability to quicken the pulse is in evidence here as part four closes in spectacular fashion.
At the back of your mind the confrontation with Baxter has overshadowed the book and was ready for some sort of conclusion. Why be worried about potential terrorist attacks and imaginary demons when you can settle for real fear instead.
Ironically Baxter manages to reconcile the family and bring them closer together much more successfully than Henry could have done. Up to that point he has argued with his daughter struggled to see eye to eye with his father-in-law and heading for a tense supper with the only refugee being his wife. But when she appears it is not alone and a knife wielding Baxter walks in for his revenge.
He breaks the father-in-law’s nose, forces his daughter to strip naked and read poetry and holds a knife to Rosalind’s neck. The tension is only broken up by a quick thinking Theo who along with Henry wrestles Baxter to the floor and calls the Police. The rest of the evening is spent with them comparing notes on the incident and sharing their feelings. No one discusses the other revelation, which was the result of Daisy being forced to undress, that Henry’s daughter is pregnant.
But before they get the chance Henry is called away to work on Baxter who has been brought into his hospital for emergency treatment. How will Henry treat the patient who so recently broke into his home at knife point?