The novel opens on a sweltering summer day in 1935 at the Tallis family's mansion in the Surrey countryside. Thirteen-year-old Briony has written a play in honor of the visit of her adored older brother Leon; other guests include her three young cousins -- refugees from their parent's marital breakup -- Leon's friend Paul Marshall, the ...
The novel opens on a sweltering summer day in 1935 at the Tallis family's mansion in the Surrey countryside. Thirteen-year-old Briony has written a play in honor of the visit of her adored older brother Leon; other guests include her three young cousins -- refugees from their parent's marital breakup -- Leon's friend Paul Marshall, the manufacturer of a chocolate bar called Amo that soldiers will be able to carry into war, and Robbie Turner, the son of the family charlady whose brilliantly successful college career has been funded by Mr. Tallis. Jack Tallis is absent from the gathering; he spends most of his time in London at the War Ministry and with his mistress. His wife Emily is a semi-invalid, nursing chronic migraine headaches. Their elder daughter Cecilia is also present; she has just graduated from Cambridge and is at home for the summer, restless and yearning for her life to really begin. Rehearsals for Briony's play aren't going well; her cousin Lola has stolen the starring role, the twin boys can't speak the lines properly, and Briony suddenly realizes that her destiny is to be a novelist, not a dramatist. In the midst of the long hot afternoon, Briony happens to be watching from a window when Cecilia strips off her clothes and plunges into the fountain on the lawn as Robbie looks on. Later that evening, Briony thinks she sees Robbie attacking Cecilia in the library, she reads a note meant for Cecilia, her cousin Lola is sexually assaulted, and she makes an accusation that she will repent for the rest of her life. The next two parts of Atonement shift to the spring of 1940 as Hitler's forces are sweeping across the Low Countries and into France. Robbie Turner, wounded, joins the disastrous British retreat to Dunkirk. Instead of going up to Cambridge to begin her studies, Briony has become a nurse in one of London's military hospitals. The fourth and final section takes place in 1999, as Briony celebrates her 77th birthday with the completion of a book about the events of 1935 and 1940, a novel called Atonement. In its broad historical framework Atonement is a departure from McEwan's earlier work, and he loads the story with an emotional intensity and a gripping plot reminiscent of the best nineteenth-century fiction. Brilliant and utterly enthralling in its depiction of childhood, love and war, England and class, the novel is a profoundly moving exploration of shame and forgiveness and the difficulty of absolution.
Very good. Book has appearance of light use with no easily noticeable wear. Millions of satisfied customers and climbing. Green Earth Books is the name you can trust, guaranteed. Spend Less. Read More.
Very good. Appearance of only slight previous use. Cover and binding show a little wear. All pages are undamaged with potentially only a few, small markings. Help save a tree. Buy all your used books from Thriftbooks. Read. Recycle and Reuse.
engaging, well-developed story
enjoyed it very much
Jun 3, 2011
Received as promised all well.
Oct 28, 2008
Children tell the ugliest lies
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?
Jun 7, 2008
Read before you see the movie!
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.
Apr 11, 2008
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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