"Atonement" is a deeply satifying, extraordinarily well written book that seems simple because it is so well crafted, but deals with such complex issues. Core to the book is that each of us comes to our own 'truth' while never really seeing the whole. One of the characters says "It's like being close up to something so large you don't even see it. Even now, I'm not sure I can. But I know it's there." Throughout the book the reader watches this happen again and again, something so large the individuals don't see the whole of it, although they know it is there. For Briony, this lack of understanding leads to tragic consequences, but the book goes on to show how each of us lacks a comprehensive understanding.
I thought it a wonderful, brilliantly written book that will stay with me for many years. Rarely have I had such a satifying "read." From start to finish McEwan didn't let me down. I think those who don't like it are listeners who prefer more action in their books, and this isn't that. It isn't a light read, nor is it fast-paced. I find myself almost wishing I belonged to a book club so I could talk about it, since I know that for all I got out of it, I missed so much. If this type of book isn't to one's taste, or the subject matter and ideas the author explores aren't interesting to you, then certainly don't get it. But that it is well written is not in doubt. I also found the topic utterly fascinating and felt the author was able to express ideas that I have played with in my own head but never would be able to write up as well.
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