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Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement (2001)

by Ian McEwan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,65949582 (3.93)1 / 962
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    The Blind Assassin: A Novel by Margaret Atwood (rbtanger, browner56)
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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.
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  11. 43
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (kiwiflowa, Othemts)
  12. 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.
  13. 00
    Fifth Business by Robertson Davies (librorumamans)
    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 21 recommendations)

1930s (109)
1940s (83)

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English (464)  Dutch (7)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Polish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (493)
Showing 1-5 of 464 (next | show all)
The detailed writing that often looses my attention, in this book kept me turning the page. He made me yearn to know the fate of the characters. Best sentence: "How guilt refined the methods of self-torture, threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime." ( )
  laverack | Aug 19, 2015 |
I really liked the the first and last sections of this book a lot. The writing in those sections was engaging and seemed to perfectly portray all the thoughts that can go through one's head in a few seconds. However, I found the middle section of the book to be really dull, and all the descriptions of the war just didn't hold my interest. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
When I saw the movie years ago, I was enamored with the gorgeous cinematography and began to fall in love with the story — about a young girl who makes a terrible mistake that causes a young man and friend to go to prison and her sister to be separated from her lover — which was beautiful and wonderful... right up into the ending, which felt like the greatest cheat of all time and had me leaving the theater in rage. I remember asking, "How can they possibly call that the greatest love story of all time?" and having a friend answer, "You have to read the book to understand."

So, now I've read the book and I almost understand, although the ending still feels like a bit of a cheat. Just like the cinematography in the movie, the writing is lush and gorgeous and I might have been able to enjoy it more, if I hadn't seen the movie and didn't already know what was going to happen. The ending in the book provides more explanation and a bit of nice symmetry that is not in the movie, but it still left me annoyed. ( )
  andreablythe | Jul 2, 2015 |
This is a thrilling novel with a compulsive plot, which made it impossible for me to stop reading until I had found out how the story ended. It is also beautifully written, and wonderfully evocative of different times and places. There are so many things in this book -- vivid characters, precise descriptions of sense images and emotional states, ruminations on the art of the novel, and on and on and on. It also has perhaps the most realistic portrayal of a girl just leaving childhood that I can recall. I found this an eminently satisfying novel on many levels. Highly recommended. ( )
  annbury | May 4, 2015 |
Wow. I had to read this book in college, and I'm so glad I did. I've never read anything like it and doubt I ever will again. I won't say what happened at the end but just tell you that it ripped my heart out. ( )
  reneenmeland | Apr 30, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 464 (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 (37 possible)

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

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"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.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:21 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Imaginative thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis, misinterpreting a scene between her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, the housekeeper's son, later accuses Robbie of a crime she has no proof he committed and spends years trying to atone for her actions.… (more)

» see all 15 descriptions

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