Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Atonement (5)

          I mentioned before that I have a hoarding problem, with my stacks of books everywhere, some cracked open, others half-finished, some laying there for years, possibly forever because I bought it on a whim thinking the subject was interesting. I read it eagerly for 10 pages and then went back to Harry Potter.
Once I have heard of a book and “mean” to read it, it probably goes on a list somewhere (thank God for Goodreads). One of these books is Atonement, which has been on my to-read list since the movie came out in 2007. I am not the biggest fan of Kiera Knightly so casting her in Atonement was basically a death sentence to the book for me, but I heard it was amazing and if that were the case then I could just read the book and I wouldn’t have to bother with Kiera at all!
But I didn’t get it right away, and the longer a book is on my list, the less likely I am to read it. There’s always something new and shiny to catch my attention, and the book grows stale on my shelf. The only way for it to re-gain my attention is if someone mentions it. Fortunately for me, Atonement is one of my friend’s favorite books. So I finally read it.  
            Atonement is simply a work of art. It starts on a summer day in 1934 as we follow 13-year-old Briony Tallis worry about her cousins coming to stay, her newest play, and what exactly her sister is doing in the garden with the servant’s son.
mostly moping
            Briony’s descriptions of everything are fabulous. McEwan crafts a brilliant story around this very young girl and whose misunderstanding of the adult world leads to disaster. After the first half, we see a first-hand view of World War II first through the eyes of a soldier, then a nurse. McEwan moves from a slow summer’s day into the middle of a retreating army and into a busy wartime hospital with effortless prose. Each could be a story unto itself. But altogether, the finished piece is perfect. I don’t know what to tell you except if you haven’t read it yet you should.
Ah, Briony. I love you. I hate you. I want to be you.


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