Saturday, 22 December 2012

Atonement by Ian McEwen

Hmmm... Where to start with Atonement. This book is so emotionally impacting on the reader, I feel that McEwen very cleverly did an amazing job on making the structure provide effective enough shocks and surprises without needing the book to be hugely action packed or quick paced. I like that McEwen didn't rush through book but took his time illustrating a beautifully detailed picture, in the mind of the reader, of the characters thought process and their surroundings. 

"...the damp patch on the gravel had evaporated. Now there was nothing left of the dumb show by the fountain beyond what survived in memory....The truth had become as ghostly as invention"

Despite this being written from a third person narrative, the author was successful in including a lot of familiar psychological thoughts. Like for example when Briony considers her existence and the existence of others and wonders whether their actions are real or if they just live through her imagination. 

“Was everyone else really as alive as she was? For example, did her sister really matter to herself, was she as valuable to herself as Briony was?” 

This, I think, is the pivotal point that primarily leads Briony to commit her crime and stick with that decision as she mulls over the water fountain scene she'd just recently witnessed involving her newly cast "characters".

In Parts One and Two of the book, I hated Briony. Although many argue she was just a little girl who didn't know the extent of what she was doing, which she really was, I still despised her. Excuse my unemphatic way of thinking but I really thought she was a pathetic annoying bratty little girl who loved being the center of attention and only thought about herself. I still think this, given the account of the older Briony, however *SPOILER ALERT* as this is a book within a book, we really don't know if this publication of the young Briony was purposely written by older Briony so that we dislike her, as a way of the narrators atonement OR if the older Briony was just being brutally honest about herself.  

I really could go on forever and ever discussing Atonement, but since this is just supposed to be a quick and snappy review, I have to say that Atonement is definitely an interesting and mind blowing emotionally impacting read. 

Based on it's enjoyability factor I'd give it a 4*.


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