Short & Sweet – Atonement by Ian McEwan

Posted July 13, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Short & Sweet Reviews / 7 Comments

Short & Sweet – Atonement by Ian McEwanAtonement by Ian McEwan
Published by Anchor on February 25th 2003
Pages: 351
Genres: Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Also by this author: Sweet Tooth


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 1934, 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.

‘How guilt refined the methods of self-torture, threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime.’

I very rarely pick up a book if I’ve already seen the movie. Sure, there are likely to be differences but the experience is still spoiled for me. I had to make an exception with Atonement because I adored the movie but I could see how much more the story would shine and benefit from text. And shine did it ever.

Usually I complain about over-descriptiveness in stories, and this was definitely descriptive, yet the author possesses a skill in writing that is completely captivating. He sets the scene with ease and transports you into the very midst of it. His words envelop you and leave you mesmerized. I could go on and on regarding the beauty of this story and the multitude of emotions it managed to evoke in me but put simply, this book was a breath of fresh air.

I’ve been told this is the best to expect from Ian McEwan but I will still eagerly dive into more of his works.

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7 responses to “Short & Sweet – Atonement by Ian McEwan

  1. bookbunnys

    I have also seen the movie and then read the book but I found the book a little bit boring 😛 But the movie is amazing, one of the best I've ever seen!

  2. I haven't seen the movie yet, Bonnie. I've shied away from it because it looks like a tragic story and I only sometimes can handle those. I'm sure it's brilliant. I think the best way to tackle a book made into a movie is to watch the movie first and then read the book. I find that if I've read the book first the movie can rarely live up to my expectations. So I think you did it the right way here. Great review. 🙂
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  3. Heidi

    I can't say I loved the movie, it was good but very depressing. I am glad the book was such a great read for you!
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  4. miss_bonnie13

    Yes, the movie is one of my all-time favorites. The book took some patience as it was excessively descriptive but I found it to be extremely enjoyable. 🙂

  5. miss_bonnie13

    Oh it IS tragic. Absolutely heartbreaking. Although the movie definitely had more of an emotional impact than the book did (although maybe it was because I was already anticipating the ending) 🙂

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