By Ian McEwan
Completed November 2, 2008
I am learning that you can’t go wrong reading an Ian McEwan novel. My latest McEwan selection, Atonement, was no exception. Marked by superb storytelling, interesting characters and “a-ha” plot twists, Atonement wrapped around me like a blanket. It’s a story I won’t soon forget.
Having already seen the movie, I had a basic idea of the characters and story. It’s the love story of Cecilia and Robbie, whose fledgling romance was ripped apart when Cecilia’s sister, Briony, falsely accused Robbie of raping her cousin. It’s also the story of forgiveness and redemption, as an older Briony tried to rectify her error but recanting her story. And if that’s not enough, it’s the story of war: war between countries fighting in World War II – and strife in Cecilia and Briony’s families as they were torn apart by Briony’s accusation.
What I liked best about Atonement was the excellent characterization. It was easy to love Robbie and Cecilia and feel sorry for their fates. It was easy to dislike the young Briony with her 10-year-old smugness and soften a bit when you met her as a young nurse. Even the secondary characters held my interest.
I would recommend Atonement without reservation to any reader who loves modern literary fiction. I look forward to reading more by Ian McEwan – he is one of the best storytellers of his generation.