Atonement MAG

By Margaret W., Wichita, KS

     In Atonement, a gripping novel about adolescence and war, Ian McEwan weaves an extraordinary tale about the life-long effects of an impulsive accusation made by a 13-year-old girl. Chronicling the characters’ lives from that fateful day through wartime allows McEwan to develop a truly unique and effective novel.

Briony, a budding, imaginative writer and the protagonist of the story, witnesses a confrontation at the fountain between her sister Cecilia and childhood friend, Robbie. She later sees what she perceives as Robbie attacking her sister in the library, and when a heinous crime is committed on the family’s property later that night, Briony doesn’t hesitate to accuse Robbie.

The story picks up five years later during WWII with Robbie as an infantryman fighting to survive the British retreat to Dunkirk so he can come home to his love.

Briony, meanwhile, is training to be a nurse in London, but she still writes and submits her manuscripts for publication. During these five years, Briony matures into a young woman who now doubts her late-night accusation. A rejection letter from the publishing company connects her to her estranged sister and Briony realizes it is time to face her doubts.

Encompassing the effects of immaturity, war, love, and forgiveness, McEwan is able to create a surprisingly original novel. Alternating points of view supplement the already intertwining plot creating an effect that increases the reader’s understanding of the characters while maintaining multiple stories. Eloquent description adds fluency to the narrative, making for an enjoyable read.

Through his characters, themes, and unique storyline, McEwan has created a literary masterpiece for all readers.

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This article has 5 comments.

i love this !

Sylvia BRONZE said...
on Nov. 20 2010 at 2:04 pm
Sylvia BRONZE, London, Other
3 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love thy neighbour"

 This is a good review, but there is one thing I'll just point out... Personally, I would hardly call Briony the protagonist. She is, for most of the book, an extremely narcissistic character, who cannot empathise with people. Those are her flaws, and they provide the foundations for the book. But that's one small detail. Well done otherwise!

ferrari f40 said...
on Nov. 15 2010 at 11:20 am
yeah war is awsome!!!

ferrari f40 said...
on Nov. 15 2010 at 11:18 am
This is a great book with a good set of people and a great plot.

boom said...
on Nov. 15 2010 at 9:09 am
i love war


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