The Book Project: Atonement

Posted: 15 June 2008 in the book project, writing

What, Who, WhenAtonement by Ian McEwan, reprinted in 2007.

Why on Earth: I am so delighted to be finished with school.  In two years, I haven’t been able to spend time with a book and enjoy it. And, while I’m looking forward to seeing the film, I haven’t gotten quite that far yet  and there the book was, jumping into my hand. 

Well?: I enjoyed the story.  Not surprising, given that the story was a successful film.  While I took issue with some of the main plot points, I enjoyed the way the tale wrapped around historical events like a vine, tightening on each character in turn, squeezing and blooming over each person as they grew and developed. 

I admit, my principal quibble was nothing that could have been avoided – I intensely dislike plots built on fallacy, events that, if all the characters had spoken up, could have been avoided, sparing everyone involved.  I recognize that this is a fairly common plot convention.  A and B have a falling out that could have been avoided if C had only shared what she knew.  Worse yet are the ha-ha stories of mistaken identity; A and B fall in love, but B breaks it off, causing everyone pain and suffering, because of a deep dark secret that, if A only knew, wouldn’t have been a big deal anyway.  Yes, I know this is the basis for every romantic comedy. 

Antonement’s fallacy is pivotal and runs deep enough that I could see past it for a possibility.  And so I didn’t put the book down in disgust.  In truth, I enjoyed it and left it with my sister.  It was good enough to recommend.

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