Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Atonement by Ian McEwan was loaned to me by my glorious friend, Gina. I plowed through another book she lent me but this one sat on my shelf, waiting for the two of us to slow down long enough to see one another. The other day as I was organizing my bookshelf, I realized that we haven’t seen one another for a long time. So I guess, in a way, reading this novel was my way of reconnecting with Gina. On the back of the novel is a blurb about McEwan that states he “could be the most psychologically astute writer working today.” I cannot agree more. The entire first part of the novel leads slowly through the detritus of living. Small actions and decisions lead to an almost predictable outcome. What seems to be a tedious telling of too many details proves to be a subtle unwrapping of the various personas that people the pages. As the story continues, what was known becomes unknown, what the reader might assume becomes surprisingly irrelevant. However, I confess that something happens in part three that so offended me I nearly stopped reading. I only persevered because I was sick in bed and didn’t want to bother finding another book. I had come so far, I figured I would finish. I’m glad I chose to finish. The conclusion is perfect and while some may disagree with McEwan’s choice, I cannot praise it enough. I haven’t seen the movie. I am debating if I should. I like the book enough to want to leave it uncompromised.