Briony witnesses a moment of sexual tension between Cecilia and Robbie from afar. Briony misconstrues the situation and concludes that Robbie is acting aggressively toward Cecilia.
When he writes "a glass of beer" we do not just see it; we are willing to drink from it vicariously.
The ballooning accident imaginatively derived from footage of an actual incident that opens Enduring Love is a spectacular example, but the ability to make the invented seem real animates every page of his work. Needless to say, the more disturbing or skewed that reality in the early stories and novels, most obviouslythe more finely McEwan attunes his readers to it.
Moral ambiguity and doubt are thereby enhanced - rather than resolved - by clarity of presentation. This is why the themes of the novels with the exception of the enjoyably forgettable Amsterdam linger and resonate beyond the impeccable neatness of their arrangement.
McEwan is, in other words, a thoroughly traditional original. Atonement does not feel, at first, like a book by McEwan. The opening is almost perversely ungripping. Instead of the expected sharpness of focus, the first 70 or so pages are a lengthy summary of shifting impressions.
Even so, the pallid qualifiers and disposable adverbs a "gently rocking" sheet of water, the "coyly drooping" head of a nettle come as a surprise. The language used to distil the scene - a gathering of the Tallis family at their country house on a sweltering day in - serves also as a wash that partially obscures it.
Various characters come and go but the novel, at this point, seems populated mainly by its literary influences. Chief among these is Virginia Woolf.
The technique is not stream of consciousness so much as "a slow drift of association", "the hovering stillness of nothing much seeming to happen". The book later contains a critique of its own early pages - or at least of the draft from which they derive - in the guise of a letter from Cyril Connolly, editor of Horizonwho advises that "such writing can become precious when there is no sense of forward movement".
The requisite propulsion is provided by the unexpected intrusion, as it were, of two other novelists from the interwar years. They become aware, on this sultry day, of some kind of current - animosity?
Robbie tries to articulate this in a letter, at the bottom of which he scribbles the naked truth: The consequences of the go-between blundering in like this are liberating and incriminating in unequal measure.
Lola does not know by whom, but Briony - an aspiring writer - compounds her earlier transgression by convincing her and everyone else except Cecilia that Robbie is the culprit. Unlike the incident in the Marabar caves, this one does not end in a retraction and Robbie, the proletarian interloper, is convicted.
McEwan is here playing more obviously to his strengths. The highly decorated novelist deploys his research in an effective if familiar pattern of narrative manoeuvres.
Everyone was guilty, and no one was. Part three shifts back to London, where Briony is training as a nurse, struggling to cope with the influx of casualties from Dunkirk.
Does this devotion to the victims of war wash her hands of her earlier guilt? Or can it be achieved through the eventual realisation of her literary ambitions - through a novel such as the one we are reading?
Who can grant atonement to the novelist, whose God-like capacity to create and rework the world means that there is no higher authority to whom appeal can be made?
Suffice to say, any initial hesitancy about style - any fear that, for once, McEwan may not be not in control of his material -all play their part in his larger purpose.
On the one hand, McEwan seems to be retrospectively inserting his name into the pantheon of British novelists of the s and s. But he is also, of course, doing more than this, demonstrating and exploring what the mature Briony comes to see as a larger "transformation The novels of Woolf and Lawrence did not just record this transformation; they were instrumental in bringing it about.Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to .
Ian McEwan's Atonement follows a privileged upper class preteen called Briony Tallis. She essentially ruins several people's lives because of her arrogance and ignorance.
Years later, when she finally realizes the full extent of what she's done, it's too late to make amends or fix her mistakes, because the affected parties have died partly due to her actions.
The most essential theme of Atonement is the way an individual’s perspective inevitably shapes his or her reality. At various points throughout the novel, McEwan filters the narrative through a particular character’s point of view.
Moderation / Criticism / Exposition / Exposés David Aaronovitch. Catholics try, rather unconvincingly, to show how conferring sainthood is different in principle to the pagan apotheosis (the process that made Claudius, for instance, into a God), but the distinction doesn't quite wash.
. Atonement by Ian McEwan falls under the genre of fiction, mystery, and suspense. The word Atonement means reparation for a wrongdoing. The book is set time of pre, present, and post World War II.
This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Atonement by Ian McEwan. Authored by Ian McEwan and published in , Atonement is an award-winning fiction novel that spans the last two-thirds of the twentieth century.