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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(198mm x 129mm x 24mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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Book Review: Atonement by Ian McEwan - Reviewed by CloggieA (11 May 2011)
For me, Ian McEwan’s book, Atonement, was mistitled. I think a better title would have been “How to profit from ruining others’ lives”. I was prepared to give this book a chance. A slow start, but good use of language, beautifully written, characters to love and hate and what seemed like a good story until the rather grim ending, which made a complete lie of the blurb on the back: “Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone”. If doing a bit of wartime nursing and then writing the story of your crime after all the people to whom it might matter have died, first changing the ending so that it will be more acceptable to the reader, then Briony’s definition of atonement is something different from the accepted one. “Atonement: amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong”. I felt cheated by the ending for the time I spent on this book. Guess I don't need to try any more by Ian McEwan!
Author Biography - Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan is the author of two collections of stories and twelve previous novels, including Enduring Love, Amsterdam, for which he won the Booker Prize in 1998, Atonement and, most recently, Solar.