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Atonement by Ian McEwan
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Atonement (original 2001; edition 2003)

by Ian McEwan (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,068590107 (3.93)1 / 1151
On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl's imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.… (more)
Member:strangetrails
Title:Atonement
Authors:Ian McEwan (Author)
Info:Anchor Books (2003), Edition: Later Printing
Collections:Your library
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Work details

Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001)

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» See also 1151 mentions

English (551)  Dutch (9)  Spanish (7)  German (5)  French (4)  Italian (4)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Polish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (587)
Showing 1-5 of 551 (next | show all)
More a 3.5...his earlier stuff out weighs this book...maybe if I had have started here and worked backwards it would have had a different effect. But still a superior novel. ( )
  jaydenmccomiskie | Sep 27, 2021 |
Ever since I saw the 2008 movie adaptation of this novel, I knew I had to read it. And I'm glad I did because both the movie and the book are exceptional. I don't know why I love this book so much.
Atonement is a story about misunderstandings and lies that lead to a catastrophe in the lives of Robbie, Cecilia and Briony, the main characters. If it weren't for the great imagination of Briony their lives would have been very different.
Essentially, this is a book about forgiveness and how it consumed Briony's life.
"Joined by love, separated by fear, redeemed by hope." ( )
  _Marcia_94_ | Sep 21, 2021 |
This book was rather like a boulder rolling down a hill. It was large and cumbersome and difficult to move at first. But once it got going, it built up such speed and momentum that I was swept right along to the overwhelming conclusion.

I read The New Republic review by James Wood at Powell's (http://www.powells.com/review/2002_03_21.htm). It used the dreaded word "postmodern." And it was indeed postmodern in its self-awareness and analysis of itself as fiction.

Nevertheless, it has a very old-fashioned, almost Victorian style. I couldn't help but think of Alice in Wonderland in the beginning, when the point of view was that of thirteen-year-old Briony. It tells a good old-fashioned story as well, and the description of the retreat to Dunkirk during World War II was both edifying and harrowing.

But the ending I found quite stunning, calling into question as it did what came before. We are made to reexamine and question that very description of Dunkirk and particularly what would, in a "premodern" novel, have been the end of the narrative.

But this is no dry exercise in literary theory. It tells a compelling and emotional human story, and it makes us see that those postmodern deconstructionist techniques can serve a good purpose other than the merely intellectual.

( )
  Charon07 | Jul 16, 2021 |
I had a hard time with this book - it just didn't grab me. I wanted to root for the characters but they just didn't do it for me. I especially felt the middle section dragged. Just not my type of story I guess. ( )
  tinkerbellkk | May 24, 2021 |
Movie was better. ( )
  Rachel_Cucinella | Apr 24, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 551 (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 (43 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian McEwanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bailey, JosephineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Basso, SusannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blair, IslaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boyd, CaroleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Britto, Paulo HenriquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ekman, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lukács, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Messud, ClaireIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Metsch, FritzDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robben, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rooney, AnneContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tanner, JillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Válková, MarieTranslatorsecondary 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
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.
A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.
Find you, love you, marry you, and live without shame.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl's imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.

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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.
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Average: (3.93)
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