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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.
'A superb achievement which combines a magnificent display of the powers of the imagination with a probing exploration of them' -- Sunday Times
... smoulders with slow-burning menace. You know that, even as you savour the voluptuous sentences, something terrible will happen and sure enough it does ' -- The Times
Atonement is a magnificent novel, shaped and paced with awesome confidence and eloquence' -- Independent
He is this country's unrivalled literary giant a fascinatingly strange, unique and gripping novel' -- Independent on Sunday
The best thing he has ever written' -- Observer
As you can no doubt see from the length of this review, Atonement certainly succeeded in grabbing my attention and pulling me in... Read morePublished 6 days ago by D. Jenkins
Ian McEwan presents the reader with a beautiful portrait of the consequences of love, war and betrayal in a heartfelt story.Published 8 days ago by Seana
To summarise, a lot of it was really boring while some was really meaningful and captivating. The writing was really beautiful also.Published 23 days ago by Ellie
It took me a while to get into this book because McEwan's prose is rich (and at times heavy) delving into his character's conscious experiences moment by moment. Read morePublished 1 month ago by BookRecycler
Don't often read fiction, other than children's fiction to my daughter, but did enjoy this one.Published 2 months ago by Fiona
An interwoven tale of love and war. An authentic account of war alongside a love story that captures the imagination. Read morePublished 3 months ago by SophB