The novel was well-regarded by critics. In Entertainment Weekly, writer Gary Giddens said of the book, "Black Dogs is at once characteristic McEwan and a departure. . . The first half of the novel is a dialogue of ideas, or betrayals, reminiscent of Aldous Huxley's anatomy of marriage, The Genius and the Goddess. June is disgusted with Bernard's belief that science can cure the world's 'wretchedness'; Bernard is embarrassed by June's 'unbounded credulousness,' her eagerness to buy into the bywords of mysticism. " He concludes, "McEwan's narratives are small and focused, but resonate far into the night. " In The New York Times, critic Michiko Kakutani wrote, "The black dogs that give Ian McEwan's new novel its evocative title come from the name that Winston Churchill once bestowed on his depressions. As used by Mr. McEwan's heroine, however, they signify something larger and more menacing: evil, darkness, irrationality, "civilization's worst moods. " They give Mr. McEwan a metaphor by which he can turn a fictional family memoir into an elliptical meditation on Europe's past and future. . . . The result is an absorbing yet vexing book that is less a conventional novel than a long prose-poemlike mediation on love and faith and history. "