Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Atonement" by Ian McEwan

I chose this book to take on a trip with me, and I'm pretty sure I judged it by its cover in order to make my selection. I had never heard of the author, the book, or even the movie adaptation that was released in 2007.

It took me longer than usual to "get into" this book but by the time I'd read half of it I found it was a really good read. By the end I had great respect for this novel.

It was interesting the way I was allowed to see into the mind of a writer (mainly with the narrator, Briony, but also briefly with Robbie) as they attempted to figure out how to express emotion on paper.

I usually don't care for war movies or books but, although the second part of this book was set during World War II, it really did not delve into any battle scenes (though it did cover their aftermath) or war strategy, so the plot was able to maintain my interest.

Once I finished reading the book, I could not wait to see the movie. It is often that way when I know a book I've enjoyed is being transformed into a movie--I am eager to see what they've done with it, to see if they've envisioned it as I have. There are always some parts I look forward to seeing just because I can not imagine how they could possibly translate to screen; I guess most often I come to find that those parts have either been left out or have been altered beyond recognition, but I always tend to hope for the best.

The "Afterword" of this novel (set in 1999) was at first something between disappointing and heartwrenching, but even though it was somewhat of a shock--seeming to hit me in the pit of my stomach--it was, at the same time, so right; it's as if I knew that was the way it was, the way it had to be. It had an air of inevitability, of finality, and a ring of truth. You finally see that the novel itself is the "atonement" spoken of in the title, and that Briony has spent her entire life working towards it.

The end of my copy of this book gave perhaps a half-dozen brief introductions to some of McEwan's other works, and just about all of them sound very interesting to me. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that our local library will have at least some of them (though I'm not holding my breath).

No comments: