On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, 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 is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend 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. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl’s imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.
Atonement was a great read, and considering its size took me a very short time to finish!
I would call it a mystery novel, but I feel it twists away from that genre in places. The way the book is structured, there is a main fiasco/event at the beginning and the rest of the book spirals through time and through WW2, to explore the consequences of the past mishap.
I love how the book swaps the speaking voice without telling you. It was fun working out who was speaking and McEwan very cleverly gives each character their own style.
Also, seeing the same event through the same character’s eyes as they grow up, was very interesting as it hinted at stereotypical views on how different age groups view different scenarios.
I would recommend it to anyone and everyone who enjoys mystery/history/strong emotions in books as it displays all of those things and more. The language is also beautiful as the main character is an aspiring author and so embellishes her everyday life with colourful language.
I give Atonement 5/5 rating – extremely good.