Books NaBloPoMo

Book Review: Atonement

…by Ian McEwen.

Atonement (click for source)

13 year old Briony Tallis has a love for writing and creating stories and plays. However, her imagination proves to be her greatest enemy as she wrongly accuses Robbie Turner of rape. Resulting in him being sent to prison and thus ruining his dreams and those of her older sister Cecilia who was in love with him. Set in the pre-World War II era in England and then in France during the war following Robbie’s release, the book follows Briony’s attempt to atone herself for her huge mistake. It all culminates to a climactic ending which will leave you shocked.

The book is divided into three parts and the first part had me gripped. I really enjoyed the journey into Briony’s mind and the way in which she viewed the world. The suspense and the build up to her accusations of Robbie are described beautifully. Unfortunately for me, Part II dragged on a bit especially the parts about the war and Robbie in France. But it built up its pace again only to shatter me with the ending. I figured out who the rapist was myself but it was the manner in which the book ended left me feeling a bit cheated. It is generally a good read though and I would recommend it. If you have read it, do leave your comments about your thoughts on the same.

My rating:

 

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

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No Comments

  • Reply
    kirbyakasid
    November 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I don’t understand – how can you have figured out who the rapist is? The whole point of the book is that you can never know. All the information in that first section is just Briony’s book, at least some of which is made up for the following two reasons:

    1. Some of the first section takes place in rooms where Briony is not present, so she HAS to have made up what was said and done.
    2. There is a short section in the middle of the book which is a rejection letter for her piece about two people by a fountain, which IS the first attempt at what became the piece of writing that is presented here as the first section of the book. That the letter asks her to make it more interesting suggests that the final published is highly edited.

    At the end of that first section, Briony uses her talent to convince people that one person was guilty. The first section of this book is Briony using her writing to convince people that someone else did it. If you think you “know” who it was, then she succeeded with you. 🙂

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      December 16, 2012 at 7:54 am

      I wanted to write this review without spoilers…and that was the best way to put how I kinda saw who the rapist ‘would be’ coming. I do admit though in the end you question everything. The validity of it all…and as a reader, I don’t know…I felt a bit cheated.

      • Reply
        kirbyakasid
        December 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm

        That’s a shame, that you felt cheated – personally I think the way McEwan has written the novel, that you can never really know what happened, is what makes it a brilliant piece of literature. As a writer, I wish I was half as good.

        I was a bit unfair in my comment, too, because it’s as you get toward the end of the book that you realise everything is Briony’s writing, you only fully grasp how misleading her account of events is on a second read.

        I’ve now read the book several times, because I think it is extraordinarily good, and I think Briony’s brother raped her. My friend doesn’t think she was raped at all.

        But we’ll never know, because the only information we have is Briony’s elaborated and partially fictitious version of events. Awesome writing.

  • Reply
    kirbyakasid
    November 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I don’t understand – how can you have figured out who the rapist is? The whole point of the book is that you can never know. All the information in that first section is just Briony’s book, at least some of which is made up for the following two reasons:

    1. Some of the first section takes place in rooms where Briony is not present, so she HAS to have made up what was said and done.
    2. There is a short section in the middle of the book which is a rejection letter for her piece about two people by a fountain, which IS the first attempt at what became the piece of writing that is presented here as the first section of the book. That the letter asks her to make it more interesting suggests that the final published is highly edited.

    At the end of that first section, Briony uses her talent to convince people that one person was guilty. The first section of this book is Briony using her writing to convince people that someone else did it. If you think you “know” who it was, then she succeeded with you. 🙂

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      December 16, 2012 at 7:54 am

      I wanted to write this review without spoilers…and that was the best way to put how I kinda saw who the rapist ‘would be’ coming. I do admit though in the end you question everything. The validity of it all…and as a reader, I don’t know…I felt a bit cheated.

      • Reply
        kirbyakasid
        December 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm

        That’s a shame, that you felt cheated – personally I think the way McEwan has written the novel, that you can never really know what happened, is what makes it a brilliant piece of literature. As a writer, I wish I was half as good.

        I was a bit unfair in my comment, too, because it’s as you get toward the end of the book that you realise everything is Briony’s writing, you only fully grasp how misleading her account of events is on a second read.

        I’ve now read the book several times, because I think it is extraordinarily good, and I think Briony’s brother raped her. My friend doesn’t think she was raped at all.

        But we’ll never know, because the only information we have is Briony’s elaborated and partially fictitious version of events. Awesome writing.

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