Atonement Audiobook | Ian McEwan | Audible.com
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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 (970 )
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  •  
    William R. Creech Bainbridge Island, WA United States 09-02-03
    William R. Creech Bainbridge Island, WA United States 09-02-03 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well written; well read."

    Atonement is a beautifully written but ultimately very sad piece of serious literature. Days after finishing it, I find myself thinking about the lead character and the questions that she raises. The reading was also well done. Some listeners may find that the story moves too slowly for their tastes. For example, the first half (seven hours) of the book covers just one day in 1935 and is full of nice description but little action.

    42 of 44 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Sheller Olympia, WA United States 12-25-04
    Cynthia Sheller Olympia, WA United States 12-25-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Attonement ... reasons to read"

    The two previous pans of this piece of literature spurred me to add my review. Yes, there was such a complex set of possiblities of meaning that I did listen to the beginning and other parts more than once. For me, that's what you do with a really great book. Light fluffy books have their place, as do deep and complex books. Attonement tends toward the latter; towards literature as opposed to entertainment, though not in a highbrow and full of its own importance way. Its certainly really funny in parts. So that is what I would like to add to the discussion....read Attonement if you love books that lift you beyond your narrow existence.

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alastair Princeton, NJ, USA 10-01-04
    Alastair Princeton, NJ, USA 10-01-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ian McEwan's best yet"

    If it seems slow at first, stay with it. What you get is a simple plot that starts bright then gets dark and deep, a haunting love story (including a virtuoso erotic scene), a war story which is compelling and convincing, a precise portrait of the genteel psychological drama of the 1930s English upper-middle classes, and an extraordinary structural twist that will make you rethink the whole thing. Beautifully read with just the right accent and rhythm. Makes an interesting compare and contrast with Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin (also a top tip).

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel stroudsburg, PA, USA 08-17-04
    Rachel stroudsburg, PA, USA 08-17-04 Member Since 2001
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    "An amazing book about complex human perception"

    "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.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna brooklyn, NY, USA 10-23-07
    Donna brooklyn, NY, USA 10-23-07 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stellar selection"

    I am a big consumer of recorded books, and I have rarely been moved to write a review. This book was so intriguing, so beautifully written, I couldn't resist singing its praises. It also has one of the most satisfying endings I've ever encountered. A lovely reading of a brilliant book.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 06-22-07
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 06-22-07 Member Since 2003

    Audible Member Since 2003

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Impressed"

    This is my first Ian McEwan book and I now see why his work is so highly respected. Atonement is not an action-packed thriller but a well-conceived and drawn story about the events of one day and their lifelong consequences. Probably the first third or more of this book details the events of that fateful day, where the author skillfully replays the same scenes over and over as experienced by different characters in the story. Perhaps this is why some find the book "boring." For my taste, it is anything but boring and this author's skill had me very wrapped up in this seemingly simple but complex plot.

    The manner in which this book ended is pure genious - wrapping up all of the details into a very surprising and thought-provoking finale.

    I now have one or two McEwan titles on my wish-list and will definitely purchase one in the future when I am ready for another "dark" novel.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Monterey MA 08-04-07
    Judith Monterey MA 08-04-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My best audiobook yet"

    When I try to convince friends to get into the audiobook habit, i recommend starting with this one! This is the best of the best. Flawless. Great book and exquisite narration.
    By the way, there is another recording of the same book. I recommend this one. Ever since I listened to Jill Tanner reading here, I try to get any other book she is reading. She is my best narrator yet.
    In short: a warm recommendation! If you have to listen to just one audiobook ever, this should be the one.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lea Brooklyn, NY, USA 12-29-07
    Lea Brooklyn, NY, USA 12-29-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The best book ever!"

    For me its like Margaret Mitchell, Jane Austen and Ian McEwan all got together to write this awsome tale. I was mesmerized. I can't wait to see the movie and although the review for it are good, I cannot see how they could encompass all the book into a 2 hour movie. I'm glad I LISTENED to the book instead of reading it as I probably would've skipped the WWII parts which are so essential to the story. Beautifully written and beautifully read.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne H NYC 11-09-07
    Suzanne H NYC 11-09-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    "Beautiful book"

    This book was beautifully written. The reader is one of my favorites on audible (she was one of the readers of "The Thirteenth Tale", my favorite audible book to date). The story was long, bittersweet, slow - something to savor over a cup of tea with a warm blanket, or sit on the porch with a cup of coffee. I can't wait to see the movie!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Wichita, KS, United States 10-24-05
    Rebecca Wichita, KS, United States 10-24-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Impressive"

    Besides providing an interestingly, densely-detailed picture of the attitudes of the well-bred British in the late 30's, McEwan lays bare some of the ways a writer's mind works, in youth and in maturity. You have to be a bit flexible to go along, but it is well worth it! However, for an overall pleasurable reading experience, I would give the edge to McEwan's _Saturday_. Though both books are set in worlds that seem to have gone mad, _Saturday_ is more uplifting for the reader. There is such a sense of foreboding lying over everything in _Atonment_.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
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