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Atonement by Ian McEwan
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Atonement (2001)

by Ian McEwan

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20,52853173 (3.93)1 / 1040
Member:mccark
Title:Atonement
Authors:Ian McEwan
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Collections:IPOD - New
Rating:***
Tags:Z 3.65

Work details

Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001)

  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.
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  8. 10
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    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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(see all 23 recommendations)

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English (499)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Polish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (529)
Showing 1-5 of 499 (next | show all)
I found this book on a list of novels to read probably the 1001, but also it appears on a number of others. Not much of a fiction reader I thought it not a bad idea to take on this book and see what all the fuss was about. Throughout I found myself going back and forth between wanting it to be over and getting drawn into the drama.

A depressing plot of a what can go terribly wrong when an overactive imagination and will moves against the real lives of people and the far reaching consequence. My interpretation in any event. We certainly get a lot to ponder on many aspects of life including our own by Mr. McEwan. History and cultural lessons are also on display in this novel. It is wrapped in a way leaving us or at least me hanging as to what really is atonement and is it really achieved in the end. Also the conclusion of forwarding many years to the author's concluding life left me with what we all must face, our ultimate decline. Our own real lives that are not quite novels. ( )
  knightlight777 | Sep 14, 2016 |
It's really interesting to see that a few people don't like this book!

I loved it. I'd read lines in it, and think, that describes something I've wanted to put into words for quite some time.

I became really involved in the story, in the development of the characters. McEwan really took his time to add details and texture to the narrative and I really appreciated that.

Initially, I thought the book would be too long, or too intricate, but then I became attached to the characters. I was swept along with the story, after that.

I loved the writing of this novel more than the story, but I read it quite a few years ago and a lot of the passages still stick with me.

I'm sad that a lot of people didn't enjoy it, because Ian McEwan is an author I really respect, and Atonement is one of my favourites of his works. c: ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
One of the finest novels I've ever read, it's one of the few too that gets into how the mind works, into the thinking process--and that of a young girl, at that. I'd put this novel in the company of A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book, except that was more descriptive and not so much into the mind's workings. I guess I'm thinking they are similar in periods of time and being in England and perhaps there's not that much in common. I was a bit thrown off by the 1999 final section, not wanting to leave the historicity of the novel, but I think verisimilitude and connecting with the modern time demanded such a conclusion. Atonement also boasts perhaps, for me, the best feeling of "being there" and of the surreal aspect of wartime (boy's leg in tree) that I've experienced, if not the trench-central one of Three-Day Road or the old-school war of War and Peace. The horrors of wartime nursing are made very real, as well. I like too that there are some uncertainties introduced--did they meet again, or not? Sometimes there are no happy endings. Kind of a commentary on how fiction kind and movies kind of demand the loose ends tied, but reality might not allow that ... and the alternate endings can satisfy both the realist and the romantic. ( )
  Muzzorola | Aug 24, 2016 |
Un romanzo magnifico in ogni sua parte. ( )
  cloentrelibros | Aug 23, 2016 |
SPOILERS THROUGHOUT.

This is probably the worst book I have ever read.

I've read some fairly bad books - I've read Twilight - but this was something else. This was awful. Everything about it, from beginning to end, was just very, very, inexcusably bad.

Let's take the first part - the part where all the action happens. Sort of. Except for the fact that nothing happens for seven chapters, aside from McEwan's (OR IS IT?) endless descriptions of every minute detail of everything in the house or adjacent to the house or that once rubbed shoulders with something twice-removed from the house. His prose is horrible, cloying, droning, and ultimately, boring. I love wordy books, I love the scenery that words can construct. This didn't work for me. Also, was it hot day? Did he ever mention it was a hot day? I THINK HE MIGHT JUST HAVE.

Then, there's the characters. God how I hate every single one of them. They're either directly, obviously hateful (Lola, Briony, Paul Marshall and his rapist's moustache (WHY DIDN'T ANYONE SEE IT COMING?), Emily) or they're just stupid (Cecelia and Robbie, mainly). Each and every single one of them is a cliche, and by the point it came to the big, terrible, awful thing which was to happen to them, I had simply ceased to care. Okay, so we know Robbie's not a rapist. Big deal. The whole thing feels horribly contrived taken at face value - taken in the context of what is learned later in the book, I didn't find any greater meaning behind this.

The pacing is all off, too. I think the idea was to create suspense. This did not happen. By about Chapter Ten I was seriously considering chucking the whole thing, but I pressed on.

Part Two is, if possible, worse than Part One. Here is where Ian McEwan regurgitates everything he ever possibly knew about WWII. Firstly, it's all over the place, jumping from time period to time period in a completely unclear manner. Secondly, again, it's boring. Part Three is just cringeworthy. BRIONY BECOMES A NURSE MAYBE THIS MAKES HER A GOOD PERSON GUYS. I just don't see what we're supposed to care about, here... so I'm just going to skip to the end.

So, what WAS the point? Briony? Briony who turns out in the last part to have been narrating the whole thing? Is this in fact part of her journey? What flaming journey? She's gone from being a terrible author with issues telling the difference between fantasy and reality to... what? She's still a terrible author! She's still got horrible issues! Who the hell cares by this point? McEwan's grasp of characterisation is tenuous at best. The characters, as seen through the eyes of Briony, are one-note caricatures. It doesn't matter if this is, in fact, the point - it doesn't make it a good device. I can get a picture of them as people, the problem is that they're not interesting people and they're certainly impossible to care about. I read this directly after reading Herzog, and perhaps, given the richness of the characterisation in that, I am being too harsh on this book. Can't all be astronauts! However, the idea that somehow it's excusable that the writing in this book is so bad because it's being seen through the eyes of this unreliable, thirteen-year old narrator, is ridiculous. If that is supposed to be the point, it was very badly executed. Surely if the point is supposed to be that Briony has grown up an accepted what she's done, then she would be able to see the whole situation more clearly, and write a better book? And if she hasn't, then, as I said before, she hasn't really gone on a journey in the book, and all anyone learns from the book is that there are horrible, twisted people in the world - HEY GUYS, I THINK WE GOT THAT MEMO.

This has turned into a ramble. I do HAVE coherent thoughts on this book, but every time I start typing I get lost in a sea of completely anger that this utter inanity ever, ever became successful. It's very, very rare that I dislike a book this much. I can usually find positives to say about almost anything. I can't with this - it had no redeeming features at all.

Oh no, wait, it had one. "I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY LIFE. I WILL BE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL TO YOU."

AHAHAHAHA.

Ian McEwan clearly owes Toy Story a debt (btw, those films? WAY BETTER WRITING.) ( )
  thebookmagpie | Aug 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 499 (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 (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian McEwanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Basso, SusannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boyd, CaroleNarratorsecondary 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
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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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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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 15 descriptions

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