National Book Critics Circle, Fiction, 2003
Atonement is the novel for which Ian McEwan will always be remembered. Enthralling in its depiction of childhood, love and war, class and England, at its centre is a profound and profoundly moving exploration of shame and forgiveness.
©2008 Ian McEwan (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
"The interwar, upper-middle-class setting of the book's long, masterfully sustained opening section might recall Virginia Woolf or Henry Green, but as we move forward--eventually to the turn of the 21st century--the novel's central concerns emerge, and McEwan's voice becomes clear, even personal. For at heart, Atonement is about the pleasures, pains, and dangers of writing, and perhaps even more, about the challenge of controlling what readers make of your writing. McEwan shouldn't have any doubts about readers of Atonement: this is a thoughtful, provocative, and at times moving book that will have readers applauding." (Amazon.com review)
This book was recommended by in the All-Time 100 novels. I plan to go through the list and listen to those that appeal to me - this was the first. This is an astonishing book, so skillfully written, and so satisfying in the end. Like eating a great meal, this makes a great example of the particular satisfaction of listening rather than reading!
The story concerns a young girl, very talented and precocious, but very immature in many ways. The point of view switches between several vantage points, adding depth and subtlety to the story. The third part is the one that packs the final wallop. But the other two parts are also shocking and fascinating. I can't recommend this enough.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
The seemingly contradictory title for this review really sums up my feelings. I truly loved this book the first time I read it (the year it was short-listed for the Booker Prize). I even recall being vaguely upset that it did not win, because I thought it more engaging that Peter Carey's, "True Story of the Kelly Gang". However, about a decade on, I simply was not as taken with the whole piece. I felt the female characters were a bit predictable (in the sense that this is how McEwan draws his female characters) and the male characters (especially Robbie) are surprisingly wan. Of course one might expect Robbie (in Part 3) to be jaded, but the vitality that so marked him out in Part 1 (sufficient for him to wite the forbidden word) is completely absent by Part 3. It makes you wonder how Cecelia can bear to be with this shell of the man she loved. Maybe that's the point; Briony's deceit having forced everyone to live in the past. If it is, then I simply didn't enjoy the second visit to this well crafted novel.
There is no doubt about the craft of the book. In fact, re-listening to it re-minded me why I hadn't enjoyed Sweet Tooth when I listened to it earlier this year. The female characters are very alike (even to the point that Briony's buxom, but fun friend in nursing training is a very close match to the MI5 friendship i Sweet Tooth) and the "twist" is very similar. Maybe that's why I picked the "twist" in Sweet Tooth, but what ever it was the comparison between the two titles is unflattering. This is one of those rare books that I enjoyed on a first read that I should have lived with the memory of and left alone.
A thought Carole Boyd's performance was good and, again, very like Juliet Stevenson's in Sweet Tooth. I suspect if you listen to this first you will enjoy it (as I did the first time). If you read it after Sweet Tooth, you will prefer the former. For me, they are too similar. The rating for Story reflects my first read. The overall rating reflects this second listening.
The book is really good. The reading is pleasant. Listening to it was soothing and a pleasure. I was wishing it will never finish. I bought the second part which was even better.i recommend audible to every reader. Atonement was probably the best book I have heard the last year and one I enjoyed very much
I really enjoyed this book. It was an unusual story that had me gripped from the beginning. The way it's written is a bit higgledy piggledy and jumps backwards and forwards a lot which can be a bit hard to follow but eventually it adds to the suspence of the novel as it all comes together nicely in the end, even if the ending is not what you hope for its quite a real ending. I really enjoyed it
"Slow starter but good story"
Almost gave up after the first thirty pages but persevered and it blossomed into a good story
I looked forward to this book. It was recommended to us as an ideal holiday book and sat down to read it with relish.
We both got to the end and said the same thing. "I don't care what happens to her"
I see no one else could be bothered to review it so I guess that proves the point.
Does anyone else disagree?
Sorry to be negative.
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