Atonement by Ian McEwan

21 Sep

“Until that moment, there was still something ludicrous about having a familiar face so close to one’s own. They felt watched by their bemused childhood selves.”

Okay, admission, I saw this movie before I knew there was a corresponding book. The movie is, to say the least, one of my favorites. A great love story shot in an elegant, sensitive way- it’s beautiful. My love of the film was really what prompted me to pick the book off the shelf at a local Chicago bookstore in the Spring. I just finally got around to reading it. And, like the book it was simply wonderful!

The narrative is as elegantly spun as the movie is shot- but what really sets the book apart is the artfully developed characters. Briony, Cecilia, Robbie- an amazing triad of characters that I felt so connected to- I loved them in the movie, but the book (as books so often do) brought so much more depth to them. The book, like the movie, is divided into two distinct parts. Essentially, it is before and after… the incident that requires to be atoned for (trying not to spoil the plot without using the oh-so-kitschy ‘spoiler alert’ warning). The characters are introduced and really developed in the first part, and then we see how ‘the incident’ that marks the center of the narrative changes them. Ah! So great!

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