A Novel
McEwan, Ian (eBook - 2002 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

Item Details

On the hottest day of the summer of 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister, Cecilia, strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed forever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl's imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries and committed a crime that creates in her a sense of guilt that will color her entire life. Ian McEwan has in each of his novels drawn the reader brilliantly into the intimate lives and situations of his characters. But never before has he written on a canvas so large: taking the reader from a manor house in England in 1935, to the retreat to Dunkirk in 1941, to a London hospital soon after where the maimed, broken, and dying soldiers are shipped from the evacuation, to a reunion of the Tallis clan in 1999. Atonement is Ian McEwan's finest achievement. Brilliant and utterly enthralling in its depiction of childhood, love and war. England and class, it is at its center a profound-and profoundly moving-exploration of shame and forgiveness, of atonement and the difficulty of absolution.
Authors: McEwan, Ian
Statement of Responsibility: Ian McEwan
Title: Atonement
a novel
[electronic resource]
Publisher: New York :, N.A. Talese/Doubleday,, 2002, c2001
Edition: 1st ed. in the U.S.A
Characteristics: 351 p. ; 25 cm.
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Report This Mar 22, 2014
  • Lanny213 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This book took me a while to read. The second and third parts were faster than the beginning. There wasn't a nice, neat "wrap up" at the end. I'm looking forward to hearing what other book club ladies think about it.

Report This Mar 11, 2014
  • Library_Lisa rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I did not enjoy this book. I did, however, find it thoughtful and very well-written.

Report This Mar 05, 2014
  • kendradriscoll rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It has been several years since I read this book, but it still stays with me. McEwan did a remarkably good job of emulating the internal voice of a fanciful 13-year-old girl. The characters were believable, their actions all too human. Overall, the story was compelling, heartbreaking, and above all aptly named. Well worth reading.

Report This Feb 07, 2014
  • wordpix rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Complex storyline, very deftly managed. Loved the sleepy, slow first half and the second half that turned to quick narrative. Very well done and a pleasure to read. Glad to have found a new author!

Report This Jun 21, 2013
  • JOE KEEGAN rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book took awhile to get into, but by the end I really enjoyed it. It's got high level language, and since the author is British, it can sometimes be hard to understand what he is talking about, but I thought it was a great book overall.

One of those books where after you finish the last page you just stare at the wall and think for half an hour.

Report This Apr 22, 2013
  • Shauna_E rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

There are books that are still enjoyable if you've seen the movie. I don't think this is one of them. I would have enjoyed the book much more had I NOT watched the movie first. It took out all the spontaneity and made it a looong read. If you have the option, read the book first. Then watch the movie, which I loved.

Report This Oct 15, 2012
  • lozza1401 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Not as good as the movie.

Report This Oct 05, 2012
  • llongpine rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I tried really hard to like this book, but I just didn't. It is slow paced and just not interesting.

Report This Sep 15, 2012
  • vchuynh rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A novel with a very interesting story and concept of atonement. Leaves you feeling morally conflicted and sad at the end of the book. Some parts can get quite dull in the middle, but it almost serves to increase the impact of the ending.

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Report This Sep 15, 2012
  • vchuynh rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

vchuynh thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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Report This Sep 15, 2012
  • vchuynh rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This whole story is based on a misunderstanding that goes horribly wrong. Cecilia, a young woman is home for the summer from school. Robbie, the gardener's son is also at home. Cecilia decides to put some flowers in a very expensive vase to welcome the arrival of her brother and his friend. She sees Robbie in the garden and he volunteers to do this for Cecilia, however she wants to do it herself, as they fight to hold the vase, the handle breaks off and it falls into a fountain. Cecilia must retrieve the handle so she strips down to her underwear to dive into the fountain to retrieve it. As she emerges from the fountain, Briony her younger sister sees this from the window and sees Robbie watching her soaking wet sister in her underwear. Meanwhile, the brother and his friend arrive and he invites Robbie to dinner. Robbie decides to attend, and bring a note for Cecilia as he has fallen for her. He makes up many different drafts including a very vile and sexual note as a joke. He finally decides on a note and as he is getting dressed, he quickly picks up the note and heads out. He sees Briony playing outside on the outskirts of the property and he decides its better for Cecilia to see the note before he arrives so he gives the note to Briony to give to Cecilia. Shortly after, he realizes he gave the wrong note to Briony. Briony out of curiosity reads it before actually giving it to Cecilia. When Robbie arrives, he and Cecilia go into the library and he tries to explain to Cecilia. They both realize they are in love and they make love in the library. At the same time, Briony is looking for Cecilia and sees Robbie and her in the library in way such that Robbie looks like he is in an attacking position. During that night, the friend that was visiting the family with the brother rapes the family's cousin who is living with them. The police come and Briony tells them all she has seen and misunderstood. The cousin that was raped did not see who it was because it happened in the dark outside. The police end up arresting Robbie. Robbie must go to war. Cecilia is enraged, cannot stay with her family any longer decides to become a nurse. Briony does as well. Years later, Briony realizes that the friend is the one who raped her cousin, especially after she learns they are getting married. Briony continually tries to atone for her actions. Alas, Robbie dies at war, Cecilia also dies in a flood. All because of a misunderstanding.


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