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Publisher's Summary

On the hottest day of the summer of 1935, 13-year-old Briony Tallis sees her older sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching Cecilia is their housekeeper's son Robbie Turner, a childhood friend who, along with Briony's sister, has recently graduated from Cambridge.

By the end of the day the lives of all three will have been changed forever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not dared to approach and will have become victims of the younger girl's scheming imagination. And Briony will have committed a dreadful crime, the guilt for which will color her entire life.

Atonement is at its center a profound, and profoundly moving, exploration of shame and forgiveness, and the difficulty in absolution.

©2001 Ian McEwan (P)2006 Phoenix Audio

Critic Reviews

"McEwan at his most closely observed and psychologically penetrating, his most sweeping and expansive...masterfully crafted." (Publishers Weekly)
"It is rare for a critic to feel justified in using the word 'masterpiece', but Ian McEwan's new book really deserves to be called one...it is a work of astonishing depth and humanity." (The Economist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great reader, great story, bad editing

This novel is captivating, and the reader is wonderful, but the audio skips at a few spots and text is missed. I would opt for a different version.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great but annoying at times

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The writing is superb. I really felt like he was very talented. Having said that, I hate stories that go back and forth and tell the same event from different perspectives. There is a heavy moral bent to this story and it was a little too heavy handed for me. I would like to see this same author just tell a story not put me in a jury box.

Which scene was your favorite?

I enjoyed the details of the war, and they were quite gruesome, but felt real. The suffering of the soldiers and the heroics of the nurses.

Who was the most memorable character of Atonement and why?

Cece was my favorite but she wasn't given a chance to go anywhere in the story.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Hard to suspend belief

I still don't understand why Briony did what she did. It makes the whole thing hard to believe that her actions where just from a petulant child. While people make up versions of the truth all the time that they sincerely thing is true, usually there is more of a motivation behind it then being over-imaginative. The tired, 'war is hell' chapter could have been better spent detailing this further, in my opinion.

4 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Welsh Mafia
  • 09-12-08

On Plagiarism Beach

The attention and gloss that sticks to Atonement might yet come to be viewed as
McEwan?s Nemesis. In the parabola of his novels here?s the point where ? so far at least ? he reached that point vertically above everyone else out of Generation UEA here in the Lit. Britain. Saturday represents the decline, On Chesil Beach is flat and now the Sundays are starting to pick over his talents with tales of Lucilla Andrews, views on Islamism and a bricklaying older brother. Still, let?s enjoy this for what it is ? the best of Ian McEwan?..up to now..