On the hottest day of the summer of 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her older sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the ...Show synopsisOn the hottest day of the summer of 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her older sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching Cecilia is their housekeeper's son Robbie Turner, a childhood friend who, along with Briony's sister, has recently graduated from Cambridge. By the end of that day the lives of all three will have been changed forever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had never before dared to approach and will have become victims of the younger girl's scheming imagination. And Briony will have committed a dreadful crime, the guilt for which will color her entire life. In each of his novels Ian McEwan has brilliantly drawn his reader into the intimate lives and situations of his characters. But never before has he worked with so large a canvas: In "Atonement "he takes the reader from a manor house in England in 1935 to the retreat from Dunkirk in 1941; from the London's World War II military hospitals to a reunion of the Tallis clan in 1999. "Atonement" is Ian McEwan's finest achievement. Brilliant and utterly enthralling in its depiction of childhood, love and war, England and class, the novel is at its center a profound-and profoundly moving-exploration of shame and forgiveness and the difficulty of absolution.Hide synopsis
Atonement (Anchor Books) – Trade paperback (2003)
Trade paperback, Anchor Books 2003
ISBN: 038572179X ISBN-13: 9780385721790
McEwan, Booker Prize-winning author of "Amsterdam, " has created a symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness that provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative combined with the provocation readers have come to expect from this master of English prose.McEwan, Booker Prize-winning author of "Amsterdam, " has created a symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness that provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative combined with the provocation readers have come to expect from this master of English prose.Hide
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If you like love stories with happy endings then this is not the book for you.
The story revolves around Robbie and Cee, two childhood friends who realize on a hot summer afternoon that they have been in love with one another for awhile. Briony, Cee's bratty little sister will be a silent witness to their most private moments. And because she is young and doesn't understand what is going on, this will compell her to accuse Robbie of sexually assualting her cousin who is living with them.
While the ending is disaapointing and sad, it does beg the question. How long must one atone for their misdeed and causing so much misery in so many lives?
Not since the early literature of Virginia Woolf and James Joyce have I read such intriguing prose. Ian McEwan really is a contemporary master, whose novels will be read for a long time to come. Atonement, the story of a childhood 'crime' with lifelong repercussions, is thrilling, heartbreaking, and highly relatable. This is a novel for readers in search of more intellectual meat, but is not so heady as to put you off. I would recommend this novel to anyone in search of an absorbing, haunting story.
I just finished this book after starting it in November 2007. I found that this book had redeeming qualities in its storyline, description of the World War II era, characters, and other qualities. But, in my case, I had a hard time getting really into the book. The style was wordy and kind of difficut to follow at times. I felt no urge to finish the book quickly. Even the interesting plotline and characters could not overshadow the elements of the novel that continually dragged me down. Perhaps my reaction was due to my own expectations. If you're looking for a quick, light, easy-to-read book, this is probably not for you. If you're looking for a "thinking book" with themes and morals to contemplate, along with a romance, you should give this book a try.
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