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Abbitte by Ian McEwan
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Abbitte (original 2001; edition 2004)

by Ian McEwan, Bernhard Robben

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
21,58655561 (3.93)1 / 1099
Member:daniinad
Title:Abbitte
Authors:Ian McEwan
Other authors:Bernhard Robben
Info:Diogenes (2004), Edition: 6., Aufl., Taschenbuch, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Jugend, Schuld, Krieg

Work details

Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001)

  1. 110
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    browner56: Two superbly crafted explorations of the cathartic power that comes from the act of writing.
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    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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    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 25 recommendations)

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English (521)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (7)  German (5)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Catalan (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Polish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All (554)
Showing 1-5 of 521 (next | show all)
This book gets many 5 star ratings and I certainly see why with the complexity and detail of the writing. There is so much internal dialogue, some a stream of consciousness as we see the perspective from different points of view. It took concentration to read this novel and after a while, it wasn’t pleasure reading. Yet, that being said, I was never tempted to bail on this book as the writing is lyrical and the perspectives interesting.

The descriptions were great enough that it could be 5 large wordy paragraphs to capture a few moments, this paired with what the character was thinking.

An example – Thirteen year old Briony Tallis considers herself a playwright and penned The Trials of Arabella with her playing the lead character. As her cousins will be visiting for an extended stay (due to unfortunate family circumstances) Briony intends to cast her cousins in supporting roles. Lola, the older cousin, asks to play the plum role of Arabella. Briony graciously acquiesces as she feels sorry for Lola, but it doesn’t make her happy. Additionally, the younger boy cousins state that playwriting is just showing off and they didn’t want to participate but, as visitors they will. Arrogant Briony is upset by these turn of events as it ruined her play and plans.

She goes to a meadow and viciously hacks down the nettles, pretending they are people she is upset with, starting with Lola. She then “kills” the male cousins and others she’s unhappy with, the moments captured in 4 very long paragraphs as her thought process, documented while she beheads nettles. The massacre allows her rage to dissipate as she considers a change of career from playwright to newspaper reporter. She has a high opinion of herself, by the way.

One of the hinges of the plot is Briony observing her sister Cecilia and the lower class friend Robbie Turner. There is a scene at the fountain where a vase is broken. I read the scene and the verbal exchange between Cecelia and Robbie. Cecelia strips to her underwear and wades into the fountain to get the broken vase pieces. It’s a scene full of both anger and sexual tension. Now, Briony obviously sees things with the only reference and experience a 13-year old mind can articulate. Her confusion with flirtation and sexual encounters, real or imagined, were complex. She observes silently from a window inside the house. She can’t hear what was said, nor can she understand the attraction between the two adults.

When a rape occurs later in the first part of the book, unjust accusations lead to devastating consequences. If you’ve read this you know what happens and if you haven’t, I’ll not add spoilers if you are taking this journey.

The end surprised me. If this were a true story I would feel very sad for so many lives shattered.

So, that’s number #15 on the BBC Culture Books Project. ( )
  SquirrelHead | Mar 28, 2018 |
After hearing all the hoopla about this amazing book and the amazing movie, I couldn't wait to read this movie. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT! THe only reason I finished it was because we were on vacation and I had finished all the other book with me. Don't waste your time is my advice! ( )
  songbird72 | Feb 25, 2018 |
È un romanzo ben scritto, non c'è che dire; ma non mi trovo d'accordo con la maggior parte delle recensioni che lo esaltano. Sarà perché detesto, nei romanzi (ma anche nella realtà) le ragazzine saputelle e i loro mondi interiori fatti di regole astratte, di favolette, di verità assolute. Ecco, in questo romanzo io detesto la protagonista, a cominciare dal nome (sul serio, che nome è Briony?); detesto le cose che dice e che fa; trovo insopportabili i pezzi del romanzo in cui si sprecano centinaia di parole a definire il riflesso della luce del tramonto sul fregio di legno di mogano della mensola sopra il caminetto, interi blocchi di testo di questo spessore:

Al principio della sera, nuvole ad alta quota nella porzione occidentale del cielo si allinearono in una striscia sottile di giallo che si addensò col passare delle ore e infine si fece più spessa, mentre un diffuso bagliore aranciato calava sulle gigantesche creste degli alberi nel parco; le foglie assunsero un caldo color noce, i rami in mezzo alle fronde brillavano di un nero compatto, e l’erba inaridita prese le sfumature del cielo. Un fauve impegnato in una improbabile ricerca cromatica avrebbe potuto immaginare un paesaggio del genere, specie quando tra cielo e terra esplose una fioritura di rossi, e i tronchi gonfi delle vecchie querce si fecero talmente neri da sembrare blu. Sebbene il sole si indebolisse calando, la temperatura sembrò aumentare perché la brezza che aveva portato un vago sollievo durante il resto del giorno si spense in un’aria ormai ferma e pesante.

Pagine e pagine di una noia mortale, che più di una volta mi hanno tentata ad abbandonare il romanzo, furiosa con l'autore, per poi scoprire solo alla fine del romanzo che, nella finzione narrativa, quei pezzi sono scritti proprio dall'odiosa protagonista. Il romanzo finisce male, il che di per sé non è una cosa negativa. Fa rabbia che questo romanzo finisca male, perché parla della storia di due persone a cui la protagonista ha rovinato la vita quando erano nel fiore degli anni; e invece l'odiosa Briony arriva ad essere anziana, e non c'è traccia, nella sua storia, di quell'espiazione che dà il titolo al romanzo. Senza dubbio il romanzo mi ha coinvolta emotivamente, suscitando però sentimenti negativi, come la rabbia e la ripulsa nei confronti di questa insulsa bambinetta presuntuosa e bugiarda, che pare non aver mai ricevuto i quattro sonori schiaffi che avrebbe meritato. Sono contenta di averlo finito in fretta, meno contenta di averlo letto. ( )
  lonelypepper | Feb 22, 2018 |
This was the second time I picked it up, and found that this time, I was ready to read it. The beginning, imho, was slow, but once the initial part of the book was "out of the way", I found myself ripping through pages, wanting to know what was next. The character development, over time, was superlative and I was surprised at the ending. Try it again, if like me, you weren't ready before. ( )
  karennovakoski | Jan 17, 2018 |
An utterly engrossing book with an end that will take your breath away. ( )
  MichaelBarsa | Dec 17, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 521 (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 (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian McEwanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Basso, SusannaTranslatorsecondary 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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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 (1)

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)

In 1935 England, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses an event involving her sister Cecilia and her childhood friend Robbie Turner, and she becomes the victim of her own imagination, which leads her on a lifelong search for truth and absolution.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 20 descriptions

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