Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement (2001)

by Ian McEwan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,24848084 (3.93)1 / 881
Recently added bybobajohnson, strongasanoak, xdgc, TooBusyReading, private library
  1. 110
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (rbtanger, browner56)
    rbtanger: I know that the Library Thing Recommendations aren't always completely spot-on, but I just want to say that if I were writing the recommend list, The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood would be top of the list. These books have so many similarities that it's hard to count them all.… (more)
    browner56: Two superbly crafted explorations of the cathartic power that comes from the act of writing.
  2. 91
    Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (readerbabe1984)
  3. 124
    The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (ecureuil, Johanna11)
  4. 60
    Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (Queenofcups)
  5. 60
    Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  6. 40
    The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (burneyfan)
  7. 30
    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. 54
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (RosyLibrarian)
  9. 10
    The Wars by Timothy Findley (mountebank)
  10. 10
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (julie_e_meyer)
  11. 43
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (kiwiflowa, Othemts)
  12. 10
    The Outcast by Sadie Jones (JeaniusOak)
  13. 11
    Accusation by Catherine Bush (ShelfMonkey)
  14. 01
    The Sisters Mortland by Sally Beauman (Pedrolina)
  15. 01
    A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton (ainsleytewce)
  16. 12
    The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (starfishian)
  17. 01
    The Sea by John Banville (sanddancer)
  18. 24
    The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (readerbabe1984)
  19. 04
    We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (ainsleytewce)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (450)  Dutch (6)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Italian (3)  French (3)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Polish (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (477)
Showing 1-5 of 450 (next | show all)
Atonement is my favorite Ian McEwan novel. It is set in England in the 1930s. The novel is about childhood, love, and war. It is beautifully written and has very interesting characters. Some parts of the book will always stay in your mind forever because they are so memorable and heartbreaking. ( )
  limebooks | Sep 16, 2014 |
I don't generally read books about the war - or at least this was the case when I first read this book - but I really enjoyed it. It's quite heartbreaking. McEwan was able to make me care for the young couple so much that I kept rooting for them even when it seemed hopeless. I would recommend this (and a box of tissues). ( )
  CaitlinAC | Aug 10, 2014 |
Mi encanto por este libro es tan grande que no tengo palabras suficientes para describirlo. Una verdadera historia de la tragedia de un amor épico en medio de la guerra. El mejor final, en un libro, de todos los tiempos. ( )
  Glire | Jul 7, 2014 |
I own a copy and read a bookcrossing copy.
Truly fantastic. I've read some books I haven't been crazy about lately, or have just plain confused me, and this was such a nice change. I loved it, the characters all so real and human and sometimes so thoroughly unlikeable. Brilliant writting, the shifting perspective of events and then not really knowing what was real by the time it was all over. Was the reality that Cee and Robbie are together or both dead? I'm still wondering. Just wonderful.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
When you reread this book knowing what you’re going to find out at the end, you see how much McEwan paves the way for the revelation. Even the young Briony wondering if everyone is as alive as she is has a hint of the insubstantial nature of the characters at the end.

Regardless of whether you like the way this is a post-modern novel or whatever, it has all the hallmarks of the best of McEwan’s writing – he really does have a way with words! When I was rereading it, I really enjoyed phrase after phrase. Poor Jackson, amusingly described as ‘Arabella’s disapproving father’, ‘had wet his bed’ and made to wash the sheets himself in the laundry trough, ‘the sheets as heavy as a dead dog and a general sense of calamity numbing his will’. Here McEwan marries humour with a sensitivity to the boy’s unhappiness as his parents split up. Clearly the author is having a lot of fun in this part. The trouble is that, retrospectively, we’re meant to see this as coming from the pen of a contrite Briony – is this flippancy the right note? Perhaps with more of an eye on the future McEwan has Briony think, when mystified by the breaking vase incident, ‘how easy it was to get everything wrong, completely wrong’ and ‘it wasn’t only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding’.

Of course this book exists on different levels – it has the conventional plot and then it has McEwan using the young Briony to reflect on what it is an author does so even at this early stage in the novel we’re aware that we’re really getting two voices. ‘In a story you only had to wish, you only had to write it down and you could have the world’. Then there’s Robbie’s thoughts about the value of literature, putting it into place and recognising what it has to offer although I’m not sure McEwan wants us to fall in line with Robbie’s conclusions – they seem a bit too much the over-confidence views of a 23 year old. The point of his thoughts is, I think, to keep going this overt discussion of what to expect from a novel. And continue it does with little references to its art form peppering the text. When out looking for the twins, Briony’s mind turns towards what writing is: ‘a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination’ – more preparation for what was to come. Even more overt are Briony’s thoughts when she has become a nurse: ‘The very concept of character was founded on errors that modern psychology had exposed. Plots too were like rusted machinery whose wheels would no longer turn . . . It was thought, perception, sensations that interested her . . .’ Here again I think McEwan wants this to be as much about exposing an over-sure Briony as about the modern novel. Since he himself has just produced a traditional, plot and character section with Robert retreating to Dunkirk, he clearly believes there is some place for this unless retrospectively you think McEwan wants us to see this as all fake, in style because it is all fiction within fiction. But the ‘thought, perception’ bit does seem highly redolent of what is to come. Then pages later we have Briony thinking ‘the only conceivable solution would be for the past never to have happened’, words that seem innocent enough at the time but then lead to how the book was supposedly written by Briony.

Of course the novel becomes more and more complex. The reader is left wondering where they stand when Briony gets the rejection letter along with all the advice from CC , the potential publisher – and we realise first of all that, despite being in the third person, this is a personal narrative that Briony is making about herself. We realise that she has taken some of CC’s advice, adding more of a plot, reducing some parts and altering other – and that she’s included a war bit anyway. So far, so good, but it’s also the first time we realise that this is Briony fictionalising her past and then we realise that the writer must be still some distance into the future as she’s still got more of the story to unfold. And so at the end we come the way a novelist can’t find atonement, being the god who creates all the characters. What difference does it make in the end about what really happened and what didn’t, she asks – and so the reader is left with quite a number of issues to consider. ( )
  evening | Jun 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 450 (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 (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian McEwanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Basso, SusannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tanner, JillReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verhoef, RienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Has the adaptation

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
"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
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.
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.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:33 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Contemporary relationships. Nominated for 2001 Booker Prize.

» see all 14 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.93)
0.5 12
1 116
1.5 24
2 325
2.5 62
3 923
3.5 293
4 2026
4.5 339
5 1699


Seven editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,787,215 books! | Top bar: Always visible