Tuesday, January 18, 2011

#1 Atonement, Ian McEwan

My first 1001 book!  I treated myself to a copy of Atonement on Kindle for iPad, but with the flood, had some power issues, so read a hard copy book instead, returning to Atonement when we had power back.  Atonement is a…well…in a fit of eloquence, a sad book, it has a nostalgic feeling of doom about it from the very start.  Things are bound, and do, end badly, amidst the prosaic details of a different era, the thoughts and feelings of a family and those intimately affected by them. 

My favourite pieces of the novel were the war experiences of Robbie, and the war-time nursing of Briony.  I normally don’t much care for war novels (not sure why, perhaps too close in time to us?) but this had a gritty realism, almost dream-like quality that I could relate to, it felt like a real person there, the real things you might think in that situation.  It had a grim endurance and everyday horror to it that rang true for me. 

As a story, this one was bound to end badly, and it did.  A little unsatisfying, but understandably so.  All in all, I was happy with Atonement, though some parts felt a little long and the suspense seemed too much for the slow passages and intricate thoughts they contained.  You just kinda wanted to skip ahead and find out "what happens!!"  I was keenly interested in the final third of the book, but feel a little disappointed in it, it’s a bit of a tragic end to things, a kind of expected hopelessness.    

I also found the whole ‘marrying your rapist’ thing a little unbelievable.  Well, perhaps the whole false accusation, that’s it game over thing was a bit…not quite credible.  So that sounded a false note for me.

Overall, I can see why it’s on the list, and it will sit with me for a while, but not totally satisfied. 


1 comment:

Kristi said...

I really enjoyed Atonement when I read it a few years ago. I'm sorry you weren't totally satisfied. I remember having a difficult time getting through the first section because of the flowery passages. I really just wanted to get on with the story.