Ian McEwan: Atonement

Atonement is a family saga novel written by author Ian McEwan and published in 2001. The novel is about understanding and responding to the need for atonement. A woman seeks atonement for an innocent childhood mistake that ruined lives and reflects on the nature of writing itself for this end. It consists of four separate temporal sections about: her mistake; its effects; her search for atonement in young adulthood; and then in old age. Set in pre-World War II England, war time France and England, and later twentieth-century England it revolves around an upper-class female.

It is widely regarded as one of McEwan’s best works. It was shortlisted for the 2001 Booker Prize for fiction.[1] TIME magazine named Atonement in its list All-TIME 100 Greatest Novels.[2]

In 2007, the book was adapted into a BAFTA and Academy Award nominated film of the same title, starring James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, and directed by Joe Wright.

6 responses

  1. Sebastian says …
    Ramon : you’ve run out of luck – next book isn’t nice at all.
    370 pages with 36 lines per page … not as dense as previous, quite easy to read, but absolutely empty.

    Three parts : intro is large and superficial. Main incidents happen.
    Second part is … empty, absolutely nothing, you can skip it as it is meaningless.
    End part : few pages of good literature here, as pages 305 (“he was sitting” ..) thru 310. Final “dénouement” happns, but is so light I can belive I’ve been waiting 360 pages to have such an superficial reward.

    There is a nice situation in the book worth to mention : one of the protagonists sends a book to a publisher, and receives the answer letter containing an interesting sentence (page 314) … “Simply put, you need the backbone of a story”, and that is exactly what I woud say to mr Ian McEwan should I meet him.

    Lets wait for next book …

  2. Ostia, nano – ets un crak ! Hi ha una peli de eixa (merda de) novela ? Dema vaig a Andorra per next week la busco i la reparteixo … jajaja

    Grcies !

  3. Sebastian keeps on the same line …
    I think the author was being payed at a certain price every page. So, he kept filling pages with nothing to say but a lot of money to get. So, such a simple story went used to pay his new flat.
    >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atonement_(novel)
    Part two is absolutely empty, null, nothing to transmit to the reader, except to say Robbie has been 2 years in prison.
    And “Postscript” or part four … is as close to zero as epsilon could be … Brionny is old and dementia … nothing else

    “TIME magazine named Atonement in its list All-TIME 100 Greatest Novels” ??? They received A LOT OF MONEY to say that …

    I am tired of being negative – gonna tell you some GOOD novels … mmm

    1) detective : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_Violets
    2) sci-fi : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune_(novel)
    3) historical : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_mis%C3%A9rables (new film released, with Russell Crowe
    4) Rafik Schami – A Hand Full of Stars

    Enjoy your life …

  4. “Atonement” … “expiación” … what a title … Any special reson for it ? …

    Did you know that “day of atonement” is “Yom Kippur”, this is … the holiest day of the year for the jewish people ?

    >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur

    And those people have lots of money and are very important and/or influential in the states …
    The author had a high-level target for his novel I’d say …

    Sebastian’s mouth spells his own opinions, nothing else …

  5. Look/read what a phrase …

    At the present time no one I know has the slightest desire to hit Samuel Meredith; possibly this is because a man over fifty is liable to be rather severely cracked at the impact of a hostile fist, but, for my part, I am inclined to think that all his hitable qualities have quite vanished.

    Sebatian got a (almost) random book from the english books shelf, opened it at a random page … and in a minute found again a beautiful english sentence …

    Not so dificult, except for mr Ian McEwan …

  6. Hi all,

    It’s clear Sebastian does not like the book, we have to respect that. I have to admit I didn’t like the book either at the beginning: it was very descriptive, nothing was happening, it is a thick novel and probably I was very busy with other things those days. But I decided it to give it another try and to continue at least to page 100 (just to have a magic number), I also read a summary in some web page that helped me to understand the plot and I now I like the book much more.

    For my point of view there is a radical turning point in the dinner episode, after that lots of unexpected things happen. I also like the split of the novel in three parts (I’m now on the second one), the second part is completely different and I wonder about the third.

    Now I’m in the Dunkirk passage where the narrator talks about a jetty composed of men on the beach waiting for a rescue boat. I’ve found a real picture of it:

    I encourage you all to finish the book so we can discuss in some days where we like it or not.



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