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Atonement - Ian Mc Ewan

Posted by Gina Schwartz on December 28, 2010 at 11:20 AM


Atonement is a drama about a tragedy within the Tallis family and is set in the days before and during World War II.  the protagonist in the story is Briony Tallis who is a very young girl at the begiining of the novel.  Her preciousness along with an overly active imagination get her into trouble when she begins to misunderstand situations that her young mind cannot handle.  She mistakes the ardour and passion between her sister and Robbie Turner for something that it is not and fathoms that Robbie is a monster capable of anything who must be stopped.  What happes next is a chain of catastrophic events that affects Robbie, Briony and the entire family.

My Take

I had the benefit of seeing this movie on television prior to reading the novel.  The screenplay is excellent and is a very faithful representation of the novel.  The novel is of course better.  The descriptions of young Briony are so artfully drawn and clever you see a young girl struggling to understand herself and thw world evolving around her.  You can feel the angst of Cecilia Tallis and the frail hopelessness of their mother all vividly painted on the pages.

The scenes during the war are gory and brutal but also very real - the reader feels Robbie's thirst and his horror at what his circumstances have come to.  The hospital scenes with Briony on the wards are also true to life and tell alot about the war.

Without having seen the movie first though, I believe that I would have been somewhat confused about what events did happen and what are in the mind of Briony - what she would have liked to have happen.

The novel is a true representation of how things unchecked can go horribly wrong and how the things that are done in one unguarded moment and haunt you for the rest of your life and change your fate in a way you could not have anticipated.

The Cover

The cover of my novel contained only scenes from the movie.  I did not like this much.

Character Names

I read a review of this novel which pointed out that the character names were exquisite.  I am not sure that I agree with this - many of the characters had names that I had never before heard of - Briony for example or Poirrot. 

I hope to reread this novel in 2011

Categories: Bookscount Reviews

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Reply Universe in Words
4:30 PM on December 30, 2010 
I've seen the movie and quite liked it, I'm just afraid that when reading the book I'll dislike the movie!! Good review though, so I might force myself to ctually read it!
Reply Gina Schwartz
5:02 PM on December 30, 2010 
You should read it. I am sure you will love it.