- Paperback: 351 pages
- Publisher: Anchor Books; 1st edition (February 25, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 038572179X
- ISBN-13: 978-0385721790
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,165 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Atonement: A Novel Paperback – February 25, 2003
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“A beautiful and majestic fictional panorama.” —John Updike, The New Yorker
“Flat-out brilliant. . . . Lush, detailed, vibrantly colored and intense.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A tour de force. . . . Every bit as affecting as it is gripping.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Luminous. . . . Atonement is brilliant and like nothing he’s ever written before.” —Newsweek
“No one now writing fiction in the English language surpasses Ian McEwan.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Brilliant. . . . McEwan could be the most psychologically astute writer working today, our era’s Jane Austen.” —Esquire
“A work of astonishing depth and humanity.” —The Economist
“His most complete and passionate book to date.” —The New York Times Book Review
“In the seriousness of its intentions and the dazzle of its language, Atonement made me starry-eyed all over again on behalf of literature’s humanizing possibilities.” —Daphne Merkin, Los Angeles Times
“Resplendent. . . . Graceful. . . . Magisterial. . . . Gloriously realized.” —The Boston Sunday Globe
“McEwan is technically at the height of his powers.” —The New York Review of Books
“Astonishing . . . [with] one of the most remarkable erotic scenes in modern fiction. . . . [It] is something you will never forget.” —Chicago Tribune
“Enthralling. . . . With psychological insight and a command of sensual and historical detail, Mr. McEwan creates an absorbing fictional world.” —The Wall Street Journal
“[Atonement] hauls a defining part of the British literary tradition up to and into the 21st century.” —The Guardian
“Astonishing. . . . Gorgeous. . . . Bewitching. . . . A thought-provoking, luxuriant novel.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“McEwan is one of the most gifted literary storytellers alive. . . . [Atonement] implants in the memory a living, flaming presence.” —James Wood, The New Republic
“[McEwan’s] best novel so far. . . . It will break your heart.” —The Star (Toronto)
“A masterpiece of moral inquiry. . . . Beautiful and wrenching.” —New York
“A first-rate novel on any scale. . . . His most expansive and ambitious book. . . . Few, if any, novelists writing today match McEwan in ingenuity and plotting.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Magnificent. . . . McEwan forces his readers to turn the pages with greater dread and anticipation than does perhaps any other ‘literary’ writer working in English today.” —Claire Messud, The Atlantic Monthly
“The extraordinary range of Atonement suggests that there’s nothing McEwan can’t do.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Magically readable. . . . Never has McEwan shown himself to be more in sympathy with the vulnerability of the human heart.” —Sunday Times (London)
“Magnificent. . . . Suspenseful, psychologically astute and intellectually bracing.” —Newsday
“Not since the 19th century has a writer stepped in and out of his characters’ minds with such unfettered confidence.” —The Plain Dealer
“A novel of artistry, power and truth that puts it among the most extraordinary works of fiction of the last decade. . . . It is, quite simply, magnificent–a masterpiece.” —Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun
“Magical. . . . A love story, a war story, and a story about stories, and so it hits the heart, the guts and the brain.” —The New York Observer
“Luminous. . . . McEwan’s writing has often made me blink, but never before blink with emotion. . . . [McEwan] is at one with his talent.” —Robert Cremins, Houston Chronicle
“Atonement can’t be laid down once it’s been picked up. . . . [McEwan] can write rings around most others writing in English today.” —The Weekly Standard
From the Inside Flap
Ian McEwan's symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.
On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia's childhood friend. But Briony's incomplete grasp of adult motives-together with her precocious literary gifts-brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime's repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.
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Needless to say, then, that Atonement is supremely concerned with the role of the author. The reader is led to believe early on that thirteen year old Briony Tallis is a self-conscious and compulsive writer. But her role in the unfolding events develops as the line separating reality from her fertile imagination becomes blurred.
The story (or the "plot"), even if we take it at face value, is compelling enough in its tragedy. But the real merit of the book becomes apparent as the veils fall. It is difficult to say much more without spoiling things. But, after reading this review, anyone familiar with Fowles' novel will be watching for the judgements the reader is ultimately asked to make.
I had, probably, expectations way to high, so I was very disappointed with the book. It drags for an insufferable amount of time and when it comes to the big revelation it amounted to nothing. It works better in the movie, but even then, it had no impact in me.
There are, of course, things that I liked and left me torn regarding the rating I would give this book. I loved the use that Ian McEwan makes of language. The way he masters long sentences, which is not very common in English language. I liked the idea of the different views of the same fact by the different characters and the way that propels the narrative, but I also thought that, in general, the book ended up being quite boring and excessively descriptive.
The writing is tedious, the story line confusing and the characters beyond annoying (especially the protagonist).
The second reading completely overwhelmed me emotionally, it's difficult for me to say anything definitive. In the back of my mind lurked Rashoman, King Lear, Oedipus, Romeo and Juliet. And always there was opacity, a lack of clarity that added to the grief, compounded the tragedy. The novel within a novel only made things more horrific. It's all so thin, standing over the grave imploring the power of the almighty, so, so thin. But it's all we have, all Briony had.
His address was on free speech and impressed me. So, I decided to read one of his books, and chose Atonement. It was a good choice. The story took awhile to gain traction for me. However, I am an experienced enough reader to know a slow starter can turn out to be worth being patient which proved to be the case. Atonement is perfectly in step with the rich British literary tradition.