Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Atonement by Ian McEwan

  Catching Up Challenge

I've owned this book for three years now, read several reviews; and until this challenge, could not bring myself to read it.  Right from the first, I found the writing to be very elegant and poetic.  But it left me a little cold with the big words and involved descriptions.  The book starts with the story of 13-year-old Briony, who is excited to put on a play she wrote for her brother who is arriving hoome that evening.  We get a glimpse into Briony's mind, that of her older sister, Cecilia, her invalid mother, and the charlady's son, Robbie.  And that is as far as I got.  I read about a hundred pages and really only liked the character of Robbie.  The rest seemed so self-involved and a little weird.  Then Robbie writes two versions of a letter to Cecelia and the wrong-one gets delivered.  I found myself feeling a little sick because there is plenty of intimation that this event will change everyone's lives.  Then the is the sexual encounter in the library and I just decided that I really didn't want to continue with this book when I was struggling with it anyway.  So I quit.  I just read the synopsis on Amazon and maybe I made a mistake.  The storyline sounds really interesting, but I was a third into and hadn't felt it yet.  Maybe someother day, maybe not.
Rating:  DNF


  1. Atonement is one of my top 5 favorite books. The first third is intentionally written in a languid tone to contrast with the rest of the book that deals with war and guilt. Briony is so bored, as everyone else is, so she creates something to make life interesting. She doesn't understand what it will mean in the real world because all she has known of the world is the slow, rundown setting of her childhood.

    If you can't get through the book(we all have books that are like that) then check out the movie. It was so well done and follows the book almost to a T. It's one of my top 5 favorite movies too. :)

  2. I would try it again - maybe after having putting it down for a few days, pick it up again where you left off. The story is amazing. I love McEwan, so maybe I'm totally biased. The movie is also beautifully made.

  3. I read this book the year before (?) and here's the thing - when I finished it I couldn't really get all the hype. But then, I mulled it over and I found the story stuck with me. The tragedy of it was both frustrating and human. Oh and Briony drove me crazy. Really. Not a likable character at all...but still...*shrug* idk, it's a pretty memorable period novel for me.

  4. I've thought about reading this book too because I really like the movie. Maybe next time I come home I'll bring it so you can watch it.

  5. I didn't care for Atonement for some of the reasons you mentioned. I couldn't muster any genuine concern for the characters, and although I remember several "scenes" because of the excellent description, I had no interest in seeing the movie when it came out.