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Atonement 1

by Ian McEwan
Publication Date: 03/05/2002
5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $19.99 $17.25

'The best thing he has ever written' – Observer

On the hottest day of the summer of 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house.

Watching her too is Robbie Turner who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever, as Briony commits a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.

Contemporary fiction
Publication Date:
Vintage Publishing
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children's novel illustrated by Anthony Browne. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award.

His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, The Cement Garden, Enduring Love, Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize, Atonement, Saturday, On Chesil Beach, Solar, Sweet Tooth and The Children Act.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • A sublime and bittersweet novel rich in historical detail.

    by on

    Atonement, the eighth novel by celebrated British author Ian McEwan. McEwan is a masterful storyteller and his writing is absolutely sublime. I was quickly drawn into the story and spent several lazy afternoons of my summer holiday immersed in its pages.

    Part One of the novel take place on the hottest day in the summer of 1935. The Tallis family, which includes the novel's protagonist Briony, host a visit from their cousins, twin boys Jackson and Pierrot, and fifteen-year-old Lola, as well as Brionys older brother Leon and his friend Paul Marshall.

    Briony witnesses a moment between her sister Cecilia and her childhood friend Robbie by the fountain which stirs the young girls wild imagination. What follows is a series of misunderstandings, fuelled by Briony's 'witness' testimony to seeing things she doesn't quite understand, which result in Robbie being wrongly imprisoned for another mans crime.

    Part Two of the novel is set in England and France during World War II. Robbie has spent several years in prison for the crime he didnt commit before enlisting in the army and being posted to France, and Cecilia has trained as a nurse and has cut off contact with her family. The scenes in France and the retreat to Dunkirk are particularly vivid and I dont think Ive read anything that describes it as well as in Atonement. The same goes for Part Three when Briony is working as a trainee nurse in a London hospital.

    Atonement is a bittersweet novel about fantasy versus reality, love and war, guilt and forgiveness. The prose is pristine and Ian McEwan has become one of my favourite fiction writers. The film adaptation directed by Joe Wright is fantastic, but if you havent already, I highly recommend reading the book!