Atonement By Ian McEwan

Genre: Metafiction
Rating: ⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Review By: Myrra Arya
Age: 17 years old
School: Bombay International School

Brief Description:
◼️Set in three time periods ranging from 1935 till 1999, the book follows the life of Briony, an upper-class British girl and an impulsive mistake of hers which ruined the lives of people close to her- namely, her elder sister Cecelia and Cecelia’s lover, Robbie.
◼️It follows Briony as she grows, documenting her work as a nurse in World War 2, and the guilt she carries into her adulthood.

My Favorite Part:
◾️The interaction between Cecelia and Robbie at the fountain is one of my favourite scenes from the book.
◾️The whole chapter is from Cecilia’s perspective, and I think it perfectly captures the inner workings and musings of a young woman.
◾️The scene is atmospheric and has rich descriptions of the house and hot summer day in 1935.
◾️The dialogue between Robbie and Cecilia is witty and sharp, further adding to the restless and tense mood.

What I Learnt:
?The account of the evacuation of Dunkirk and the war in general was unflinchingly honest as the author did not shy away from showing the reader the true misery and depravation of World War 2.
?Other than that, the character of Briony was very interesting to analyze. She evokes strong feelings of hatred among readers however there is also a shred of sympathy and understanding for her. She is a remarkably well written, truly ‘grey’ character.
?The book takes one on a journey of exploring human morals, justice, violence, assault and love. One heartbreaking accusation stemmed from a series of unfortunate coincidences, misunderstandings and speculations ultimately cost the happiness and the lives of multiple people.
?The book serves as a subtle warning as it shows us how one half-innocent mistake can haunt you for your whole life, and how there is no remedy for guilt.

Why do you recommend this book?
?The brutal ending of the book made it different than many of the others I’ve read. It packs a strong emotional punch.
?It is historically accurate, informative, descriptive and well written.
?The characters are flawed and infuriating , and refreshingly realistic. Their internal monologues and thoughts are appealing and honest.
?The main plot of the book is filled with pain, suffering and guilt which allows us to introspect over human emotions as well as other issues addressed such as class differences and strained family bonds.
?There are numerous things to take away from this book- it’s one you’ll be thinking about long after you’ve read the last page.

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