Given the subject matter, I decided to ask ChatGPT what the best bits of this novel were. Here’s what the AI had to say –

Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan is a thought-provoking and engaging novel that explores the intersection of artificial intelligence and human emotions. Here are some of the best aspects of the book:

  1. Thought-provoking premise: The premise of the book – what would happen if we had robots that were indistinguishable from humans – is fascinating and raises many thought-provoking questions about the nature of humanity, morality, and the future of technology.
  2. Well-drawn characters: The characters in the book are complex and well-drawn, with their flaws and insecurities laid bare. McEwan does an excellent job of exploring their motivations, desires, and fears, making them feel like real people rather than just caricatures.
  3. Exploration of morality: “Machines Like Me” explores the complex moral and ethical issues surrounding artificial intelligence and the consequences of playing God with technology. The book raises questions about the relationship between humans and machines and what it means to be alive.
  4. Historical Context: The book is set in an alternate version of the 1980s, with the backdrop of political upheaval in the UK, including the Falklands War and the rise of Margaret Thatcher. The historical context adds depth and richness to the story, making it feel more grounded and real.
  5. Beautiful prose: McEwan’s writing is beautiful and lyrical, with many poignant and memorable passages that stick with the reader long after the book is finished. His prose is both precise and evocative, creating a rich and immersive reading experience.

Overall, Machines Like Me is a masterful exploration of the complex relationship between humans and machines. It’s a thought-provoking, emotionally resonant, and beautifully written novel that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

Couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t. Suffice to say that this recommendation which came from Adam Buxton’s interview with the author on his podcast was certainly a good one and I have been to my local charity shop and picked up a bunch more of McEwan’s books. I’ve already enjoyed several films based on his work, so it makes sense to investigate his novels.