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On the hottest day of the summer of 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her too is Robbie Turner who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever, as Briony commits a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 27mm | 355g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099429799
  • 9780099429791
  • 1,712

Review Text

Vintage paperback edition of this novel universally acclaimed as Ian McEwan's finest work to date - telling a beatifully evoked tale of love, betrayal, and ultimately, the eponymous atonement. "He is this country's unrivalled literary giant...a fascinatingly strange, unique and gripping novel" )Independent On Sunday(. "A superb achievement which combines a magnificent display of the powers of the imagination with a probing explanation of them" )Sunday Times(
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Review quote

"A magnificent novel" * Independent * "A superb achievement" * New York Times * "The best thing he has ever written" * Observer * "He is this country's unrivalled literary giant...a fascinatingly strange, unique and gripping novel" * Independent on Sunday * "McEwan's best novel so far, his masterpiece" * Evening Standard * "A beautiful and majestic fictional panorama" -- John Updike "Subtle as well as powerful, adeptly encompassing comedy as well as atrocity, Atonement is a richly intricate book... A superb achievement" * Sunday Times * "Atonement is a is also an elegy to a time which, however volatile, still had certainties" * The Times * "An evocative depiction of the dangers of innocence and ignorance in the face of uncomfortable reality." * Herald * "Brilliantly explores the currents of guilt, shame and anger... Utterly satisfying, complete" * Scotsman * "A complex, thought-provoking novel." -- Fanny Blake * Woman and Home * "Smoulders with slow-burning menace" * The Times *
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About Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is the critically acclaimed author of seventeen books. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; The Cement Garden; Enduring Love; Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize; Atonement; Saturday; On Chesil Beach; Solar; Sweet Tooth; The Children Act; and Nutshell, which was a Number One bestseller. Atonement and Enduring Love have both been turned into award-winning films, The Children Act and On Chesil Beach are in production and set for release this year, and filming is currently underway for a BBC TV adaptation of The Child in Time.
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Rating details

399,607 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 33% (130,041)
4 37% (147,119)
3 21% (83,128)
2 7% (27,147)
1 3% (12,172)

Our customer reviews

McEwan's "Atonement" poses a compelling argument as to whether sins can be rightfully atoned. Briony's actions were unforgivable not only because she had no idea as to the consequences of her actions but that she was convinced that what she had done was correct. McEwan's narration helps us to understand weight of sins that can forever change one's life, with drastic complications. The answer, then to the question of whether Briony has redeemed herself from her younger, imaginative and conceited self, is no. A definite no. Her actions claimed the happiness of her sister and her lover, Robbie and robbed them of a life that they would have had together. Whilst, not the only culprit in the damning of an innocent man, Briony is most to blame. Her attempts to atone herself fall short as she is still the same person albeit, one who has lost her enthusiasm and courage as she realised what she had done. Though her childhood misunderstanding was justifiable, this does not excuse her from her perceived notion of superiority and rightfulness. In short, she is a "prima donna" (said by Cecilia), who cares for no one but herself, a conceited girl who understands no more about what she had done. Even if she had promised to [ withdraw her previous evidence and give an honest account of what had happened, she does not do this and cowardly runs back to the hospital she was training in. Although as it turns out she never met Robbie or Cecilia and that her confession was a part of her draft. Briony's attempts of atonement was not enough to save her from her own prison, from her own deity, a God who commands words on paper and bows to no one. Though Cecilia and Robbie meet in her writing, this is nothing but a poor excuse and a late attempt to rewrite her wrongs and to truly atone for what she had done. Though she apologised, a mere "sorry" is not enough as Cecilia and Robbie were separated by a poor and unreliable witness who thought she knew everything. To reiterate, Briony remains a coward protected by her ability to feign her accountability for her sins. To truly atone for one's sins is to place oneself in suffering proportionate to the victim's. Briony's life surrounded by little guilt and life is nothing but an excuse and a justification for something she could never change, something she could never atone for, something SHE has spent her life trying to avoid whilst convincing herself that she has actually tried to change or to correct her sins. "Atonement" is simply one of the best books I have ever read, and McEwan's prose is something worth of countless praise as he satisfies readers with wonderful dialogue and heart wrenching details that will tug your heartstrings. Definitely more
by Kim
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