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Atonement Paperback – 2 May 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (2 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099429799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099429791
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (374 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian McEwan is a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children's novel illustrated by Anthony Browne. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, The Cement Garden, Enduring Love, Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize, Atonement, Saturday and On Chesil Beach.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Atonement is Ian McEwan's ninth novel and his first since the Booker Prize-winning Amsterdam in 1998. But whereas Amsterdam was a slim, sleek piece, Atonement is a more sturdy, ambitious work, allowing McEwan more room to play, think and experiment.

We meet 13-year-old Briony Tallis in the summer of 1935, as she attempts to stage a production of her new drama The Trials of Arabella to welcome home her elder, idolised brother Leon. But she soon discovers that her cousins, the glamorous Lola and the twin boys Jackson and Pierrot, aren't up to the task, and directorial ambitions are abandoned as more interesting preoccupations come onto the scene. The charlady's son Robbie Turner appears to be forcing Briony's sister Cecilia to strip in the Fountain and sends her obscene letters; Leon has brought home a dim chocolate magnate keen for a war to promote his new "Army Amo" bar; and upstairs Briony's migraine-stricken mother Emily keeps tabs on the house from her bed. Soon, secrets emerge that change the lives of everyone present...

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.--Alan Stewart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"An evocative depiction of the dangers of innocence and ignorance in the face of uncomfortable reality." (Herald)

"A complex, thought-provoking novel." (Fanny Blake Woman and Home)

"A beautiful and majestic fictional panorama" (John Updike)

"Subtle as well as powerful, adeptly encompassing comedy as well as atrocity, Atonement is a richly intricate book... A superb achievement" (Sunday Times)

"He is this country's unrivalled literary giant...a fascinatingly strange, unique and gripping novel" (Independent on Sunday)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. Bounds on 13 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
i have read ian mcewen books in the past, enduring love and the child in time. they were good books. i bought atonement in a charity shop about a year ago and after reading the outline on the back of the book i couldnt muster the enthusiasm to read it. i saw the film advertised with its images of war and decided it might be worth reading. i must say this is one of the best books i have ever had the pleasure to read. i could not put it down. i was at work in the canteen reading about briony in the hospital i was laughing at the soldier having shrapnel removed the next i was close to tears as i read brionys meeting with the young french soldier. a true modern great, i would recomend this book to anyone
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on 31 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
I started reasing this book one saturday and I have to admit I found it very hard to put down. I'd only ever read Enduring Love of McEwan's before and found that even more exciting, mainly because of the start and the fact that there were many twists in the tale. The first part of Atonement, set in a family house and grounds in the 1930's is incredibly written- sensitive, mysterious and gripping. The plot moves on but into a different decade and focussing soley on one character, then again in part three to another character. Fans of war novels will enjoy these parts, as McEwan's depiction of war time on the battle field and in the hospitals is realistic and moving. However I found the end slightly disappointing, not really because of the story but because the perspective changes from an impartial onlooker without an identity to a character we have observed throughout the novel. I found this view slightly biased and odd to read, and although the resolution of events at the end is fascinating I found that a few details and characters in the story were overlooked.
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73 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Allan Gordon on 28 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought my copy of Atonement around five years ago and I never seemed to get around to reading it, even though I am a big fan of Ian McEwan's work. I knew that the release of the film version is imminent, so I decided to take it with me on holiday, so that I could set myself the goal of reading it before the film comes out. When I started it I could not understand why it had taken me the best part of five years to get around to reading it. I was totally engrossed by every aspect of the book; it is very atmospheric, it has a strong narrative drive, the characters are brilliantly drawn and you care what happens to the main protagonist.

In the hot summer of 1935 thirteen year old Briony Tallis is trying to stage a play to welcome her older brother home, but her cousins are proving not to be up to the task. As she sulks in her room she notices that her sister Cecilia has stripped her clothes off and jumped into a fountain, apparently at the behest of the cleaning lady's son Robbie. Her vivid imagination transforms this scene into something very different, and when that night something truly terrible does happen, she completely misconstrues it, with consequences that will dramatically change the lives of Cecilia, Robbie and herself. McEwan brilliantly captures how a child's mind works and the ways in which a naive young girl can totally misunderstand adult passions.

The second part of the book is set during World War 2 and Robbie is desperately trying to get to Dunkirk. Cecilia and Briony have both become nurses and are dealing with the casualties of the conflict. McEwan's writing is consistently superb throughout this book, but the war scenes are incredible, being totally pervaded by a sense of danger.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. Bridgeman-clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
Ok I am a big Ian McEwen fan, but whilst I may be bias I rate this as one of the top ten book written by a British author in the last twenty years.

The story is one of family conflict and deceit. The story delves into the lives of a family and close friends who one evening are bought together when a incident occurs which is covered up. Someone has to shoulder the blame and the story revolves around the consequences of the cover up and the wrongful accusation of a young family friend and how that affects not just his life but those of the family.

The story spans a period of 60 years or so but the plot entwines through the years, to climax at the very end.

I was shocked by some of the prose, especially the description of the mayhem on the roads to Dunkirk and the horrors of war, but I was greatly moved by the book and recommend it highly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Oracle VINE VOICE on 2 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful, beautiful novel. McEwan's writing is elegant and evocative and he proves himself the master of different styles as he moves from the domestic suspense of that famous hot summer in Part 1 to the horrors of the Second World War in Part 2. The ending is stunning and although it surprised me it was perfectly appropriate and brought together the strands of many important themes in the book. This is an emotional novel too and, yes, I cried over what is one of the great literary love stories.

Atonement is an absolute masterpiece. This is a great work of literature and will be remembered for many years to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Sedon on 5 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
After fifty or so pages, I thought this book would join the very select list of those I could not finish (which includes Catch 22 and One Hundred Years of Solitude!). Gradually, I became accustomed to the fact that this book, unlike almost all, is NOT about actions and deeds, but about thoughts. McEwan uses the opening section to establish the fantasy world in which Briony lives, so that the (false) accusation of rape against Robbie that she inspires seems entirely plausible. This is an exceptional novel by an accomplished author.
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