About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Atonement - the book

atonement (ə-tōn'mənt) = amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong; expiation.

From Wikipedia: Atonement (2001) is a novel by British writer Ian McEwan. It is widely regarded as one of McEwan's best works and was shortlisted for the 2001 Booker Prize for fiction, an award he had already won for his previous novel Amsterdam. In addition, Time magazine named it the best fiction novel of the year and included it in its All-TIME 100 Greatest Novels,[1] and The Observer cites it as one of the 100 best novels written, calling it "a contemporary classic of mesmerising narrative conviction."[2]

I received this book for Christmas from Daughter #1 and just finished it the other day. I haven't started reading anything else yet because the whole story keeps running through my mind and I'm enjoying mulling it over. In 1935 England, a precocious 13-year-old girl manages to ruin the lives of many people by telling a lie about her older sister and the son of a servant. I cannot even begin to describe how the author draws us into the the young girl's mind and how she twists the truth in her childish desire to hurt those she loves. Here are some quotes about the book:

The Economist : "A work of astonishing depth and humanity....It is rare for a critic to feel justified in using the word 'masterpiece,' but [Atonement] really deserves to be called one."

The New Yorker: "A beautiful and majestic fictional panorama."

Chicago Tribune: "Astonishing....Lush and heavily populated, [with] one of the most remarkable erotic scenes in modern fiction...{It} is something you will never forget."

The Wall Street Journal: "Enthralling...extraordinary....Ambitious....With psychological insight and a command of sensual and historical detail, Mr. McEwan creates an absorbing fictional world."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Not since the nineteenth century has a writer stepped in and out of his characters' minds with such unfettered confidence."

The New York Observer: "Magical....A love story, a war story, and a story about stories, and so it hits the heart, the guts and the brain....McEwan is eerily convincing. When he's writing at his best, he's invisible, and he's never less than elegant and precise...."

The Weekly Standard: "Atonement can't be laid down once it's been picked up...McEwan writes like an angel and plots like a demon...."

I'm not sure now whether to see the movie or not. I'm afraid it might ruin my passion for the book. On the other hand, I'd love to see it acted out. I know it's up for Best Picture of the year and there have been rave reviews. I can certainly vouch for the book. Can anyone vouch for the movie?


meggie said...

I have not read the book, but I would love to read it. I have seen the movie, & it was very moving, & memorable. I highly recommend it, & feel the direction & acting are superb. Casting is wonderful.
Raving on a bit here, but it really did impress me, & I defy anyone to not like it.

I do realise that often one is disappointed in a movie after reading the book, so I would be interested to hear from anyone who has read the book as well as seen the movie.

leslie said...

Well, thanks at least for telling me the movie was good. I think I'll go see it and hope it is as good as the book. I know it'll be different because I don't know how they're able to show the thoughts of the characters, which make up most of the book.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks for this review, Leslie. It's one of those books I know I should read and now you have made me want to go right out and buy it!

jmb said...

I read the book for my book club but found it rather dull in spots although I did manage to finish it. Usually I like Ian McEwan but I bucked the trend with this one.

I might try the movie, they say it is very good.

Edmund (the explorer) Nesbitt said...

Hello Auntie Leslie, part of Atonement was filmed around the area mummy sometimes takes our Wilma for a wlak. If you check her blog, A is for Atonement on her ABC photos. Also you MUST read Ian Mckewans "The Daydreamer" it's fantastic!

Nancy said...

I saw the movie with a group of several girlfriends. The ones who had read the book also enjoyed the movie very much. In addition to what Meggie said I would add that the cinematography was extraordinary, it was beautifully shot. I guess the same director did the newer Pride and Prejudice movie with Keira Knightley. You should go see it soon while it is still in theaters for the full effect.

Liz said...

I was cross at the end of the book as I felt cheated. I don't think I want to see the film.