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Atonement by Ian McEwan

About the book

On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

Reviewed by Eastleigh Library Reading Group:

Majority thought it was an excellent book although slow to start. Very descriptive and thought provoking Part 2. Satisfying Part 3 bringing things together and providing answers and outcomes of events and people.

Star rating: ***

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8 thoughts on “Atonement by Ian McEwan”

  1. Review by U3A Book Circle 3:
    The only book in 4 years when everyone agreed on its brilliance – wonderful descriptions of people places and situations. Easy to read with humour and characters one could emphasise with. Brilliant descriptive writing, especially Dunkirk and hospital “procedure”
    Star rating: ****

  2. Review by The Beechings Reading Group:
    Well written, thought provoking. Not everybody enjoyed this book.
    Star rating: **

  3. Review by Accidental Reading Group:
    The whole group enjoyed and appreciated this book. Very descriptive and evocative of either the slow, hot days in the country in 1935 and the chaotic, bloody scenes at Dunkirk and the hospital. Characterisations also excellent.
    Star rating: ****

  4. Review by Maisemore Gardens Reading Group:
    Mixed reviews. Description too protracted and story too slow v reader drawn into the atmosphere and psyche of the characters. WW2 and nursing – most considered this to be the best part. Was believable and there was empathy with characters and situations. Well researched. Ending – ambiguous, ‘a cop out’ (not all agreed). Was atonement achieved – Briony’s ‘novel’ puts the record straight but does not help the ‘victims’. Promoted good discussion and different points of view.
    Star rating: **

  5. Review by Between the Leaves reading group:
    Slow to startg but worth perservering. An insight into the nursing problems in the London Hospitals. Interesting account of retreat to Dunkirk. Ambigous ending?
    Rating: ****

  6. Review by Reading between the wines:
    Didn’t endear us to the characters. Felt wordy and a little indulgent. Though provoking about life during the world wars.
    Star rating: **

  7. Review by Morning Tide Book Club
    Overall the Book Club did not like “Atonement” – too wordy, slow and did not become interesting until the third part and ended with no real conclusion. Could have been half the size!
    Rating: *

  8. Review by Saturday Bookworms
    Well constructed and keeps the reader interested. Portrays class system of the time and the descriptions of war and prison are very good. Would recommend.
    **** 4 stars

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