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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
19,34448983 (3.93)1 / 930
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    browner56: Two superbly crafted explorations of the cathartic power that comes from the act of writing.
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English (458)  Dutch (7)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Polish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (487)
Showing 1-5 of 458 (next | show all)
I wouldn't mind saying this book was one which took me a long time to complete. Though there is a lack of pace and a general gloomy storyline to the book, it could be considered as the musings of a little girl. What she had caused, how she had caused it and how well she found it easy to live in the world of her own unless realization struck her are all shown in the book. The book is a good read, along with it a lot of things could be done. ( )
  durgaprsd04 | Feb 25, 2015 |
I listened to the book on tape which is always a little different than reading the book. Set during WWII, the story is about the aftermath of lives destroyed after thirteen year old Briony Tallis witnesses an event between her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, a family friend who also happens to be the son of a maidservant. Briony misinterprets the enounter which has devastating results. ( )
  KatherineGregg | Feb 19, 2015 |
I read this on board the cruise ship, perhaps would not have been able to finish without the extra leisure and minimal distractions. The story starts with the tale of a young pre-adolescent girl, who witnesses what she supposes is a sexual assault of her cousin, and persists in accusing a young man who was adopted by her family, and in love with her older sister. She later learns more of the truth, immerses herself in war nursing, and tries to make restitution to her sister. The story of the young man evolves into the story of the Dunkirk evacuation and the blitz, and ends, either on a hopeful note, or in despair 50 years later. Your choice depends on if you take the first ending as the ending of a novel, written by the young girl in later years, or if you take her account of her older years as the truth; in the self-referencing form of the novel it is hard to be certain. Absorbing, but much too long in the first parts, dwelling on the children's games. ( )
  neurodrew | Feb 8, 2015 |
My first time reading anything by Ian McEwan, I found Atonement to be a completely absorbing novel. It has 4 parts that are all quite different in era and setting. The characters were deep and believable and the writing style is top notch. I would definitely recommend this novel to others and would surely be interested in reading another McEwan novel. ( )
  briandarvell | Jan 3, 2015 |
Non è una passeggiata, questo libro di McE. E' una scalata verso il basso - ma non è una discesa. E' sentire precisamente di salire quando in realtà stai scendendo (Ivan Illich docet). Con solidità narrativa, con un utilizzo magistrale della lingua, McE. ci svela un mondo che non potrebbe essere più vivido neppure se lo avessimo vissuto in prima persona. Una capacità straordinaria di scrivere e descrivere un mondo di malizie adolescenziali, crudeltà adulte e tragedie epocali che nessun film potrà mai rendere appieno. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 458 (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

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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 (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)

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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