10 May 2016

Atonenment by Ian McEwan

Title: Atonement
Author: Ian McEwan
Pages: 351
Genre: Classic, Romance, Historical
Book Description:
Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.

On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

My Opinion:
Set in World War II England, we follow the lives of 3 main characters as the youngest one misinterprets her older sister's love affair to be something much worse. This is a fascinating novel about romance, separation and honesty.

Straight away, I loved the descriptions. This was the first thing I noticed as I was reading and they were so lovely from start to finish. McEwan seems to have a way of describing things in such a delicate manner. I'm not usually a fan of lengthy descriptions however I do not mind these for they were so beautifully written.

Following many different character perspectives was an unusual touch that worked really well as we got to see their in-depth thought processes. This was especially interesting between the sisters, Briony and Cecilia, as it really enforces the age gap and their differing levels of innocence.

I also enjoyed how the story line is split into parts so that we see how this event has affected the character's entire lives and not just their childhood. We get to see historical events and the gender roles, such as men being in the army and a woman's role in medicine/nursing. This is something that really interests me personally so I enjoyed this aspect a lot.

The ending was also fantastic with a lovely revelation and closure. I felt that this was brought to a close at the correct time with no unanswered questions.

This novel altogether was really well rounded and followed an in-depth-written plot. The characters were really vivid and I loved how similar yet different they were, as well as seeing how their relationships changed over time by growing closer and further apart. I'm so glad to have read it as I feel that I've learned a lot so I'd definitely recommend it!

Favourite Quotes:

Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination


A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it


Was everyone else really as alive as she was?


She lay in the dark and knew everything


A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn, not easily mended

Rating ★
5 out of 5 stars 

I watched the film adaption before reading the book by chance, which was a shame since I knew the ending and noticed many things in the novel which I doubt I'd have picked up on otherwise. However it's a beautiful film, with wonderful casting and fantastic scenery. Although the book is better, as usual, the directors have done an excellent job of recreating it visually. 
I certainly recommend watching this although you made need a box of tissues as it will definitely bring on some tears!

Next book I'm going to review:
Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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