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Atonement | [Ian McEwan]

Atonement

In Atonement, three children lose their innocence, as the sweltering summer heat bears down on the hottest day in 1935, and their lives are changed forever. Cecilia Tallis is of England's priviledged class; Robbie Turner is the housekeeper's son. In their moment of intimate surrender, they are interrupted by Cecilia's hyperimaginative and scheming 13-year-old sister, Briony. And as chaos consumes the family, Briony commits a crime, the guilt of which she shall carry throughout her life.
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Publisher's Summary

National Book Critics Circle, Fiction, 2003

In Atonement, three children lose their innocence, as the sweltering summer heat bears down on the hottest day in 1935, and their lives are changed forever. Cecilia Tallis is of England's priviledged class; Robbie Turner is the housekeeper's son. In their moment of intimate surrender, they are interrupted by Cecilia's hyperimaginative and scheming 13-year-old sister, Briony. And as chaos consumes the family, Briony commits a crime, the guilt of which she shall carry throughout her life.

©2003 Doubleday, Division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Adult Fiction, 2003

"A tour de force. Every bit as affecting as it is gripping." (The New York Times)
"Enthralling...With psychological insight and a command of sensual and historical detail, Mr. McEwan creates an absorbing fictional world." (The Wall Street Journal)
"A beautiful and majestic fictional panorama." (The New Yorker)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1199 )
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4.1 (463 )
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Performance
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  •  
    mary j aboughadareh 08-21-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    192
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    351
    91
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    12
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    Overall
    "Interesting"

    I enjoyed Atonement. It had a few little twists and turns and a surprise or two.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Reinhold 05-16-10 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    60
    ratings
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    104
    52
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Good but so is the Movie."

    Most people know that this novel was made into a movie with the same name. I watched the movie long before I listened to the book. I would recommend reading/listening to the book before watching the movie. A huge amount of the suspense was taken away from the listening experience and I would argue that the surprising events that take place in the story are really what makes the novel so great. The author is very detailed in his descriptions which make the main events of the story very well flushed out and easy to visualize. The great detail as well makes the not-so-important events of the story especially boring and difficult to get through. I give the book 3 stars because it is a good story but I would probably just recommend watching the movie and skipping the book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    05-16-10
    05-16-10 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    280
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    333
    144
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    Overall
    "Atonement"

    Good book and the narrative accent was not detracting to me but it is not a light story. It is not a story you can follow easily but may have to rewind and listen again to follow.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davies Georgia, USA 08-19-09
    Kathy Davies Georgia, USA 08-19-09 Member Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    1
    Overall
    "Great writing, fun reader"

    I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style of this book and the reader, as well. Although the plot seems to wander a bit, the masterful prose made every minute enjoyable.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margarita Irving, TX, USA 07-25-09
    Margarita Irving, TX, USA 07-25-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    68
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    47
    15
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    6
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    Overall
    "Love The Book"

    The story is very poignant - but feels very real. I have loved the book even before the film came out - which was unusually true to the book. That was quite surprising. I've always been interested in Mr. McEwan's books as they are a very good study of human behavior in the direst of situations.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 02-06-09
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 02-06-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    502
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    277
    174
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    46
    0
    Overall
    "wondeful"

    I hesitated to listen to this book based on some of the reviews, but I am really glad I did! The first few hours of the book do deal with a single day, but the writing is terrific, and the narration is just perfect. Stick with it - is's a really wonderful book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 01-07-09
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 01-07-09 Member Since 2015

    I Like scifi-fantasy,non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Stormlight Archive, GoT, Ken Follett's work. Last read: Words of Radiance

    HELPFUL VOTES
    151
    ratings
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    135
    67
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    4
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    "Great story but gets a li'l slow..."

    The story is really well put but I do agree with many other reviewers that it digresses in the 2nd part with the elaborate war descriptions but I guess it was important for the plot. Other than that, well read and a unique plot.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 12-16-08
    John 12-16-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
    ratings
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    29
    11
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    1
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    "DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME"

    I'm an avid audible listener and can usually get into anything. Not so with this book. I kept waiting for the author to grab me and focus my attention on something interesting. I went 1 hour 17 min before giving up. When I have nothing left to listen to, I might return and see if this book has any value added. As of now, it doesn't!!

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States 07-14-05
    Catherine PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States 07-14-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    178
    4
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Overall
    "Excellent"

    Realistic characters. Unexpected events.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Elysian, MN, USA 04-13-08
    Russell Elysian, MN, USA 04-13-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    12
    10
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    0
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    Overall
    "Attonement"

    The reader put me to sleep

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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