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Atonement by Ian McEwan
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Atonement (2001)

by Ian McEwan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
21,41955763 (3.93)1 / 1094
  1. 110
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    browner56: Two superbly crafted explorations of the cathartic power that comes from the act of writing.
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    The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Both books begin with a young girl witnessing a crime of sorts that will powerfully affect her own life and the lives of her family members. Both books also are set in England during World War II.
  8. 10
    The Outcast by Sadie Jones (JeaniusOak, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These character-driven literary novels set in 20th-century England offer haunting, reflective narratives of secrets, shame and guilt. In each, children make decisions or perform actions that have unintended, tragic consequences and lasting repercussions.… (more)
  9. 10
    Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Atonement, like Rules of Civility, paints a picture of events that instantly turn characters' worlds upside down. Also set in the 1930s, it highlights the lingering opulence of the age and how that can disappear amid tragedy.
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    librorumamans: Also a look at the consequences of a childhood crime. For me, though, Fifth Business is better crafted and a more complex examination.
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(see all 24 recommendations)

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English (520)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (7)  German (5)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Catalan (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Polish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All (553)
Showing 1-5 of 520 (next | show all)
This was the second time I picked it up, and found that this time, I was ready to read it. The beginning, imho, was slow, but once the initial part of the book was "out of the way", I found myself ripping through pages, wanting to know what was next. The character development, over time, was superlative and I was surprised at the ending. Try it again, if like me, you weren't ready before. ( )
  karennovakoski | Jan 17, 2018 |
An utterly engrossing book with an end that will take your breath away. ( )
  MichaelBarsa | Dec 17, 2017 |
I think it is generally believed that Ian McEwan's books are something similar to the idea of Marmite; you either love his writing style or you hate it. I myself have always been a huge fan of McEwan and this book, like all his others was beautifully crafted into an intensely thoughtful novel, which commands,of sorts, a sensitive respect towards both the characters and the ensuing events.
McEwan has a tendency to completely captivate his audience, I find myself once more congratulating McEwan's ability to capture the innermost feelings and thoughts of humans, unlike other authors, you certainly feel as though you have known the characters as intimately as possible. I found myself unable to stop reading the book and it was with reluctance that I actually closed the book to get on with other things in life, sleep being one example! There is a deep degree of atonement, and a sadness at the turn of events as the novel draws to a close, this is not a story with fairytale endings.


Moving away from the novel itself, I must also congratulate the adaptation into film, Atonement, the film is true to the book and captures the atmosphere of the novel perfectly. Both novel and film recommended! ( )
  Charlotte1162 | Nov 29, 2017 |
Neuvěřitelně silný příběh o hodnotě lidské myšlenky a touze po něčem konkrétním, jež dokáže hnát člověka stále dál. Příběh, který vás donutí promýšlet činy, které všechny mají své následky. Příběh pokání, jemuž je těžké dostát ... ( )
  Rhonnies | Nov 14, 2017 |
Friends told me I would like this book but I kept putting it off because I didn't much care for the only other McEwan I had read, The Child in Time. Now I wish I had trusted my friends more as I thought this one was amazing! ( )
  leslie.98 | Oct 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 520 (next | show all)
McEwan is technically at the height of his powers, and can do more or less anything he likes with the novel form. He shows this fact off in the first section of Atonement, in which he does one of the hardest things a good writer can do: engrossingly, sustainedly, and convincingly impersonate a bad one.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, John Lanchester (pay site) (Apr 11, 2002)
 
McEwan is crafty. Even as he shows us the damages of story-telling, he demonstrates its beguilements on every page. Atonement is full of timeworn literary contrivances--an English country house, lovers from different classes, an intercepted letter--rendered with the delicately crafted understanding of E.M. Forster.
added by Shortride | editTime, Richard Lacayo (Mar 25, 2002)
 
If it's plot, suspense and a Bergsonian sensitivity to the intricacies of individual consciousnesses you want, then McEwan is your man and ''Atonement'' your novel. It is his most complete and compassionate work to date.
 
Ian McEwan's remarkable new novel ''Atonement'' is a love story, a war story and a story about the destructive powers of the imagination. It is also a novel that takes all of the author's perennial themes -- dealing with the hazards of innocence, the hold of time past over time present and the intrusion of evil into ordinary lives -- and orchestrates them into a symphonic work that is every bit as affecting as it is gripping. It is, in short, a tour de force.
 
Ian McEwan’s new novel, which strikes me as easily his finest, has a frame that is properly hinged and jointed and apt for the conduct of the ‘march of action’, which James described as ‘the only thing that really, for me at least, will produire L’OEUVRE’.
 

» Add other authors (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian McEwanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Basso, SusannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boyd, CaroleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tanner, JillReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verhoef, RienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zulaika, JaimeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
"Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from? Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English: that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable, your own observation of what is passing around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open? Dearest Miss Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?"
    They had reached the end of the gallery; and with tears of shame she ran off to her own room.
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
Dedication
To Annalena
First words
The play – for which Briony had designed posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crepe paper – was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.
Quotations
Novels and movies, being relentlessly modern, propel you forwards or backwards through time, through days, years or even generations. But to do its noticing and judging, poetry balances itself on the pinprick of the moment. Slowing down, stopping yourself completely, to read and understand a poem is like trying to acquire an old-fashioned skill like drystone walling or trout tickling.
How much growing up do you need to do?
It wasn’t only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Briony’s tale begins with her restless and excited preparations for a play she had proudly written for her visiting older brother. The young girl's childish anxieties induce a light and amusing atmosphere for the story’s first few scenes. But soon enough, a series of baffling events takes place before Briony’s eyes and sets of her wildly-imaginative mind to believe a new story of her own creation. Coerced by her own impetuous sense of duty, she soon commits a “crime” that forever changes the lives of people around her, as well as her own. This highly-praised novel from Ian McEwan is no more of a love story than it is a contemplative essay on the rapturous highs and atrocious lows of our frail human existence.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 038572179X, Paperback)

Ian McEwan's Booker Prize-nominated Atonement is his first novel since Amsterdam took home the prize in 1998. But while Amsterdam was a slim, sleek piece, Atonement is a more sturdy, more ambitious work, allowing McEwan more room to play, think, and experiment.

We meet 13-year-old Briony Tallis in the summer of 1935, as she attempts to stage a production of her new drama "The Trials of Arabella" to welcome home her older, idolized brother Leon. But she soon discovers that her cousins, the glamorous Lola and the twin boys Jackson and Pierrot, aren't up to the task, and directorial ambitions are abandoned as more interesting prospects of preoccupation come onto the scene. The charlady's son, Robbie Turner, appears to be forcing Briony's sister Cecilia to strip in the fountain and sends her obscene letters; Leon has brought home a dim chocolate magnate keen for a war to promote his new "Army Ammo" chocolate bar; and upstairs, Briony's migraine-stricken mother Emily keeps tabs on the house from her bed. Soon, secrets emerge that change the lives of everyone present....

The interwar, upper-middle-class setting of the book's long, masterfully sustained opening section might recall Virginia Woolf or Henry Green, but as we move forward--eventually to the turn of the 21st century--the novel's central concerns emerge, and McEwan's voice becomes clear, even personal. For at heart, Atonement is about the pleasures, pains, and dangers of writing, and perhaps even more, about the challenge of controlling what readers make of your writing. McEwan shouldn't have any doubts about readers of Atonement: this is a thoughtful, provocative, and at times moving book that will have readers applauding. --Alan Stewart, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:21 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In 1935 England, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses an event involving her sister Cecilia and her childhood friend Robbie Turner, and she becomes the victim of her own imagination, which leads her on a lifelong search for truth and absolution.

» see all 20 descriptions

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