Atonement by Ian McEwan
A book review by Richard McGee
I have been reading novels selected to Best Lists.
Atonement was listed as one of the best novels written in the 20th century and was nominated for several awards.
Atonement is the story of a thirteen-year-old girl, Briony, that is a witness to a crime and falsely accuses a young man, the boyfriend of her older sister. Her testimony leads to his conviction and incarceration and it alienates the sister from the family. As Briony grows into adulthood, she realizes the error of her testimony and the story evolves into her attempt to correct her wrong.
This is not a simple read. The author delves into extensive details of the life of Briony so that some scenes may remind you of the painstaking detail in Virginia Wolfe’s “Mrs. Dalloway”. I first read about a fourth of this book before setting it down for several months. When I picked it back up, I began again at the first and am glad I finished it.
The story began slowly but hooked me so that I could hardly lay it down to sleep at night. The big plot turns in the story pulled me toward the end. When I started this book, I wanted to watch the movie it inspired after I read it; but after reading the book, I no longer desire to see the movie. The author does such a great job of taking us into Briony’s thoughts, that I am certain a movie will disappoint in comparison. I recommend this book as an excellent read.