HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Espiazione by Ian McEwan
Loading...

Espiazione (original 2001; edition 2005)

by Ian McEwan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,05447785 (3.93)1 / 871
Zeruhur's review
Espiazione è un romanzo di sentimenti, ancora prima che di persone, di fatti e di luoghi. I sentimenti sono assoluti e crudi, come dovrebbero essere e quando l'amore è rappresentato è travolgente, così come la gelosia e la coggiutaggine infantili che sono il motore dell'intera triste vicenda.
La penna di McEwan è elegante, crea un'atmosfera palpabile e tratteggia scenari e vicende umane sin troppo verosimili. Come nella realtà, in Espiazione la vita non è un idillio. C'è la guerra a separare le persone e soprattutto c'è il risentimento e il senso di colpa a divedere due sorelle.
Briony porta il peso di una colpa per cui non potrà mai avere perdono. Ma avendo il dono della scrittura le viene data facoltà di fare ammenda per il proprio peccato, in un modo inaspettato che sarà appannaggio solo di chi concluderà il romanzo.
McEwan divide il romanzo in quattro parti (tre parti e un epilogo). La prima occupa la prima metà del libro ed è, per quanto fondamentale, la meno incisiva. Bellissima la seconda parte che rappresenta la guerra dal punto di vista di una manciata di soldati e non ammantata di risvolti pattriottici, ma vista da un punto di vista meramente umano. In questa vediamo lo svolgersi, tramite flashback della vera e propria storia d'amore. Nella terza parte attraverso gli occhi di una Briony diciotenne si giunge alla conclusione del racconto, del percorso di espiazione di una giovane donna che ha capito l'errore sciocco commesso durante l'infanzia ma che sa che di aver perduto per sempre una sorella.
In realtà poi l'epilogo ci riporta nuovamente alla cruda realtà che non è di certo preferibile ad una versione più edificante sebbene meno veritiera. ( )
  Zeruhur | May 26, 2012 |
All member reviews
English (448)  Dutch (6)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Italian (3)  French (3)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Polish (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (475)
Showing 1-25 of 448 (next | show all)
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 |
http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/7357026/

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 |
I will give this story credit for teaching me something about myself: it showed me that I do not appreciate eloquent prose if there is not a compelling story wrapped within it. On the surface, "Atonement" has the makings of a compelling story, but it buries its narrative ideas within layer upon layer of relentless plumbing of character psyches, all for the sake of a gimmick to lay out a psychology of writing. It takes far too long to get to the actual story in the first part of the book, and far too little time is spent on the main event's aftermath. There are some poignant scenes in the second part, particularly regarding the wartime nurse's perspective, but if that is the kind of thing you want to read, there are better and more rewarding books about war. Briony's character reveals about two/thirds of the way through the novel that all of the criticisms that were forming in my mind as I read through were probably intentional on McEwan's part; that does not make them any less irritating to me. If all the accolades plastered on the covers and front pages of this book mean that story really matters less than form, then I owe an apology to all the adult fanatics of YA literature I've criticised over the years, and I'd better hang up my hopes of ever becoming a novelist. ( )
  quaintlittlehead | Jun 26, 2014 |
Well written, good read, read it in 2 days. Will not spoil the story for others by telling the story. Give it a try. ( )
  JanicsEblen | Jun 10, 2014 |
Original post at Book Rhapsody.

***

Pretty little literary liar


This is the first book of the month that I read back when I was still a newbie at our book group. I am not sure if I would have read this soon otherwise. It was April then, a hot month in our country, and, like the opening chapter of the novel, the first event takes place on a hot day.

Briony Tallis, the central character, is fussing around with her play. Oh yes, she is an attention-hungry child with a knack for literature. She is directing a play, entitled The Trials of Arabella, she wrote for her brother. She wants to have it performed on that night in celebration of her brother’s arrival. Before that night, instead of getting something done, the cast, composed of her newly arrived cousins, get bored and would rather go for a dip at the pool. One of them even has the nerve of taking over Briony’s task as the director.

Frustrated, Briony goes out of the house, whipping nettles with a stick, until she meets Robbie Turner, the son of the Tallis’s housekeeper. He hands her a note for Cecilia, Briony’s older sister. She grabs the note, sealed in an envelope. She is intrigued. She opens it. She reads it.

And, so to speak, the rest is history.

The problem these fifty-nine years has been this: how can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God? There is no one, no entity or higher form that she can appeal to, or be reconciled with, or that can forgive her. There is nothing outside her. In her imagination she has set the limits and the terms. No atonement for God, or novelists, even if they are atheists. It was always an impossible task, and that was precisely the point. The attempt was all.

The novel is divided into three parts. The first part is composed of the events of that day, from the rehearsal of The Trials of Arabella up to the next day, that time when the sun shyly stretches his fingers upon the dreaming earth, which is also the time Robbie leaves the Tallis house, for reasons I will not say. But I’ll say this much: Robbie leaves in disgrace because of that little lie that Briony slipped through her malicious teeth.

The second part is about the war. We read about Robbie, serving his country during the war and walking toward the coast to catch a ship that would take him home. We read about Cecilia, a nurse who is waiting for Robbie to come home. And we read about Briony, also a nurse, asking for Robbie and Cecilia’s forgiveness for the terrible tale that nearly destroyed the blossoming love of her sister and her childhood crush.

The last part is the epilogue, where we read about a much, much older Briony, keeping up with her ailing health and boasting an armada of books she has penned after her time as a war nurse. This, perhaps, is the culminating point of the story, where the big bomb is dropped. Of course, I won’t drop that here, although I am usually inclined to do so, but I am feeling a little stingy now.

One of my bookish friends spoiled the ending for me, deliberately or not, I cannot say, and you can just imagine the vexation that I nursed for this friend. But really, this spoiler made me love the novel more. Weird, huh? Every time Cecilia writes, “Robbie, come back. Come back to me,” my chest constricts a barrel of tears. Call me a crybaby, but I don’t care.

This novel is largely about love, war, and what else? Oh, remorse. That shapeless guilt clinging fiercely on Briony’s shoulders for six decades is too much a burden to tow. It is enough to torment a person in a lifetime. It’s the consequence of her precocious imagination, rash judgment, and misunderstanding of adult motives. But could we blame her 13-year old thinking? Did she really intend to protect her sister, or was she just plain jealous?

The novel explores the wide and relatively unknown repercussions of the words that fall from our lips. The way we perceive things, the way we craft them in our heads, and the way we want to deliver them, whether our intentions came out of spite, out of unconscious jealousy, out of disgust, out of uncouthness, will affect someone, change something. Which is why words are too powerful. The learned person can concoct anything from these: a play, a letter, a love story, a crime.

And a lie. It is so easy to destroy something with one. It also takes one to make a beautiful novel, although one has to be as good as McEwan. This is my first McEwan novel, and I am definitely impressed.

And, cue violins, it takes a "cunt" to create a lie. Wink, wink. ( )
  angusmiranda | Jun 10, 2014 |
A beautiful, lyrical, disturbing book. A story about love and betrayal and catastrophic misunderstanding, the horror of war and the impossibility of atonement. Also a self referential story about writing fiction, indeed about writing the very story we are reading (see Briony's rejection letter from the publisher to whom she sends the first version of the very novel we are reading) - yet it is never arch or "clever". I love this book, both for the writing and for the story - which I hope is very much what the author intended. The film version led me to the book and reading the book has reminded me how good a writer Ian McEwan is. ( )
  Figgles | May 3, 2014 |
This was my second reading of Atonement, this time venturing in along with the students in my Seminar in Historical Fiction. We also read quite a bit of critical material on the novel, and ultimately I enjoyed it much more than the first time around. (I changed my rating from three stars to 4.5, and, seeing as how I did not review the book then, I will do so now.)

Let me say first that I am a big fan of McEwan's work (although not so much the earlier novels that earned him the "Ian Macabre" moniker). It's not surprising that the very things that so many readers disliked are, for me, it's greatest strengths. If you are reading the novel solely as a linear story, you are likely to be irritated by the questions it poses about the process of writing, the "authority" of the author, the responsibilities of the writer to his or her subject and readers, and the readers' responsibilities. You'll probably hate the conclusion. And perhaps be annoyed by the "revisions" of the story as the third person narration moves shifts in time, place, and point of view--something I found particularly intriguing. McEwan plays with all kinds of additional lit crit-type things, including metafictional allusions to Jane Austen, Dante, Virginia Woolf, Shakespeare, and more; and some heavy handed symbolism (the broken vase, the recurrence of threes).

The story itself--which is probably known well enough for me to skip a lengthy summary--is an intriguing one that eventually focuses on the issues of guilt, punishment, and atonement. It also examines the snobbery of the British class system (especially in the first section, set in 1935), the ugliness and inhumanity of war, the power of words and the imagination, and the painful coming of age of Briony Tallis, the central character. Written with a third person omniscient narrator, the novel is divided into four sections. The first is set in 1935 on the Tallis family's country estate. It's Briony's 13th birthday, and she plans to celebrate her brother's homecoming with a performance of the first play she has ever written, "The Trials of Arabella." But things go terribly wrong, disrupting Briony's penchant for order--for the world to be as she would have it be. Lola, Jackson, and Pierrot, cousins from the north who have arrived in the wake of their mother running off to France with a lover, are assigned parts in the play--but not necessarily the parts Briony intended, and their interpretations don't necessarily agree with her. In addition, the relationship between her sister Cecelia and Robbie Turner, the charwoman's son, which Briony imagined as a romance similar to that in her play, has taken a turn that confuses and surprises her. When a crime is committed, Briony's rigidly ordered and highly imagined world begins to fall apart.

I don't want to give away any more details that would spoil the reading experience, so let me say only that Part Two is told from Robbie's point of view as a soldier in France, heading towards the beach where the Dunkirk evacuation is about to occur; and Part Three relates Briony's wartime experiences as a nurse trainee. The last, and shortest, section jumps ahead to 1999 and is told, again, from Briony's point of view.

For me, Atonement is a rich novel that I know will take me deeper each time that I revisit it. I loved the metafictional elements, and I really enjoyed making a study of it this time rather than simply taking it on as pleasure reading. Highly recommended. ( )
3 vote Cariola | Apr 10, 2014 |
A revelationary final chapter - all very clever writing and an enjoyable reading expreience. Emotive and graphic chapters set during the war. ( )
  siri51 | Mar 20, 2014 |
This book was a slow start for me. The first half is reminiscent of Jane Austen or the Broente sisters, neither of which are quite my style.

But the second half of this book completely sweeps any boredom that the first half may have brought. It's not often that a novel touches me and makes me ache the way this one did.

See it through, you'll be glad that you did. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
I really wish I would've known about the book before seeing the movie, because of course I would've read the novel first. Because I saw the movie first, the book seemed a bit drawn out, overly descriptive and tedious. I felt like I could skip a few paragraphs, or even pages, and still not have missed out on the overall plot. This is a great reason I don't like watching the movies before reading the book. That said, I did absolutely love the original story line and overall plot. The exploitation of a child's innocence was taken in a grim view of over-fantasized dramatic life sequences that played off of that child's objection to reality, and later, guilt. This novel is quite the page turner. ( )
  Dnaej | Mar 14, 2014 |
I really wish I would've known about the book before seeing the movie, because of course I would've read the novel first. Because I saw the movie first, the book seemed a bit drawn out, overly descriptive and tedious. I felt like I could skip a few paragraphs, or even pages, and still not have missed out on the overall plot. This is a great reason I don't like watching the movies before reading the book. That said, I did absolutely love the original story line and overall plot. The exploitation of a child's innocence was taken in a grim view of over-fantasized dramatic life sequences that played off of that child's objection to reality, and later, guilt. This novel is quite the page turner. ( )
  Dnaej | Mar 14, 2014 |
This book is beautifully written. The author's descriptions of WWII battles and the lives of soldiers was amazing. I saw the movie based on the book a few years ago and loved it. I think if I hadn't seen the movie first, I would have loved the book even more. ( )
  jsamaha | Mar 14, 2014 |
Quite boring with too much wording. ( )
  sschaller | Feb 28, 2014 |
Okay, defininitely the best novel I've read yet this year. My problems with it were mostly my fault and not McEwan's. Firstly (and mostly), the Keira Knightley film is one of my favorites, and it is always a bit difficult to get through a novel when you know how it will end -- especially when it ends the way this one does. My only other real issue was that the very beginning was a bit dull, but the rest of it more than made up for it.

The positives, oh the positives. Briony is a truly fascinating character study. Is it problematic that I empathized with her? Maybe. Or maybe we're all supposed to understand the bizarre pleasure she gets out of things she shouldn't. Eh.

But the novel's true strength is the story. It's just plain good. I almost don't know how to describe it. Dramatic and tense and heartbreaking and historical and lovely, all without overdoing it. Plus it asks some very interesting questions about guilt and culpability and the ethicality of keeping a young girl as in the dark about sex as Briony is. ( )
  TurnThePaige | Feb 19, 2014 |
I love it. It was a booger to get through, but completely worth it. ( )
  mlyons1 | Feb 12, 2014 |
I remember that I really enjoyed this book, until I found out that Robbie and Cecilia were both dead!! Then I was really pissed and confused by it. I didn't get that Briony was actually writing the novel... the end really threw me.
The movie version does a pretty good job with the story, and is equally sad and really depressing. Minus the library sex scene, which is pretty great.
The SOUNDTRACK is excellent, another Dario Marianelli masterpiece. My advice? Skip the novel and the movie, and just get the soundtrack. ( )
  k8seren | Feb 6, 2014 |
Tragically beautiful. The last couple of pages lined my eyes with tears. ( )
  bethie-paige | Jan 29, 2014 |
Few books have affected my emotions as this one did. Mix together a thirteen girl possessed with an overactive imagination and a flair for the dramatic, who has a secret crush on a young man who she witnesses in an embrace with her sister, the social class system of the early 20th century and a manipulative cousin and you have the recipe for disaster. The pacing of this book is slow at the beginning but as the background is painted it speeds up to its inevitable and overwhelming conclusion. I loved this book! ( )
  mlbelize | Jan 27, 2014 |

I don't know why but it took me forever to read this book. 351 pages took me longer than it took to read A Storm of Swords. And it wasn't because I stopped to chew cud or something, it just did. I'd like to think it's because this is a strange novel - a novel that makes the reader expect epic, poetic justice(I'm thinking Count of Monte Christo); Briony dying heroically to save Cecilia(Robbie is so far away that it isn't possible), maybe even redemption(a far shot considering the size of the book) after a long arduous journey of atonement. But the novel rises above such cliched quests and events to give us an ending that I am both satisfied with and saddened by.

Even though I was annoyed with Briony all through Part One(and maddened beyond comprehension), the prose was too beautiful for me to stop reading(Part two is the really interesting part though). I can totally understand why this book was nominated for a Man Booker. Even though by 50 percent, I felt like I was watching a soap opera(oh, the drama!). That frame of mind was dispelled by the gritty Parts Two and Three, thankfully.

So, yes. Worth it, completely. Even if you feel like Part One isn't worth it. ( )
  ashpapoye | Jan 24, 2014 |
just plain boring ... ( )
  topcat21 | Jan 8, 2014 |
Virtuosic, but cold, ultimately. Self conscious, precious, brutal. I couldn't like any of the characters. Very depressing.
  RGilbraith | Jan 5, 2014 |
I may have just not been in the mood to read this novel, but I simply never really got into to it until very near the end. Most of the early novel is spent laying the scene for a crime which then haunts the lives of the characters for the rest of their lives. I found the concluding scenes the most interesting, as Briony, Cecilia, and Robbie finally confront each other and begin to come to terms with the price each has paid. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Dec 19, 2013 |
When I compiled my 102-must-read books list I put this book on it. I hadn't read it, or even read a review. It just seemed to be on everyone else's top 100 lists, it had a high rating and the blurb sounded interesting.

I am now half way through the book and I have no idea why anyone likes it.

The plot is basically:
Part 1
Blah blah blah blah blah blah. Followed by a Salem witch trial moment in which the thirteen year old protaganist vindictively points her finger at her sister's boyfriend and blames him for raping her cousin.

Part 2
I am going to read it as soon as I get this out but I am going to take a stab based purely on the picture on the front cover.Let's see how close I can get.

Everyone is five years older. Boyfriend leaves prison and goes to war to fight on front line. Protaganist feels guilty. blah blah blah blah, Protaganist uncovers truth and feels less guilty. Boy and girl get back together after he is wounded somehow.


The main antagonist, Briony, is a vindictive spoilt bitch. The whole book me of [b:The Crucible|17250|The Crucible|Arthur Miller|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1166805388s/17250.jpg|1426723] with a touch of [a:Virginia Andrews|4502621|Virginia Andrews|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg]. Her character is oddly described, she is young and lacks knowledge and yet has these hugely complex thoughts. She is punishing the boyfriend and her sister for their sexuality.

The author has done everything by the book, but the result lacks personality. I get the tone that he is trying to set, but I am bored by it. The descriptions are neither too long nor too short, and yet I am bored by them. I feel like has anaylsed what is required for a perfect book, has inserted all the require elements and changed the names. The book feels like a fill-in-the-blank book. I can see why this was turned into a movie, I think the cast and crew would have been able to film it on auto-pilot.

The best bit of writing about the whole book is the back cover blurb. It is the only bit that is remotely interesting and it is probably the only reason so many copies have been sold.


ETA: I have finished the rest of the book. The second part was a little more interesting but the third part was worse then the first. There was nothing original about the book. Having the protaganist end the book as an eighty year old having a cup of tea and explaining how she actually wrote the book to get atonement is ridiculous.

Also, my earlier prediction for the ending of the book was spot on.

I want my time back.


( )
1 vote alsocass | Oct 12, 2013 |
Ian McEwan is an author I have ambivalent feelings toward. I have loved his work, hated his work or found it totally average. So, you understand why I picked this up with rather confused expectations. Thankfully though, this is one of the good ones. More than that in fact, it's one of the great ones!

Every word in Atonement is right. It's so wonderfully thought through. The narrative flows at exactly the right pace and the characters are fabulously sketched.

One of the most evocative & considered books I have read in many years. One for the favourites list I think. ( )
  ElaineRuss | Sep 23, 2013 |
Showing 1-25 of 448 (next | show all)

Quick Links

Current discussions

Ian McEwan in Someone explain it to me...

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.93)
0.5 12
1 116
1.5 23
2 321
2.5 61
3 917
3.5 293
4 2006
4.5 338
5 1681

Audible.com

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 | 91,478,838 books! | Top bar: Always visible