Book Review of Atonement

Author: Ian McEwan
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

There were a lot of things I liked about this book; not the least was how the author drew believable characters and gave me so many reasons to identify with each one. Young Briony, who loses herself in her fantasies, writing stories and plays to impress her family, particularly her older brother. And her later experiences as a trainee nurse, writing in her her journal every day as the only way to preserve her individuality in her institutionalized life. Her older sister Cecilia, agonizing over the few choices an independent woman has in 1930's Britain after college. Robbie trying to understand where his relationship with the child Briony went wrong. Somehow, McEwan turns what might have been a mundane tale in another writer's hands into a page turner. His writing is smooth, detailed and evocative, but never feels overwritten. he painstakingly constructs the viewpoints of various characters and de-constructs many miscommunications. He keeps the drama taught--Briony witnesses a sexual assault and fingers a family friend as the perpetrator--yet keeps the right amount of humor present, such as when Robbie sends the *wrong* love note to Cecilia. Only the ending felt a bit out of place and contrived, if unexpected. Highly recommended.