Fiction – paperback; Vintage; 372 pages; 2002.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2002, part one of Ian McEwan‘s Atonement features some of the best fiction I have ever read.
Set on the hottest day of the summer of 1934, it evokes richly the individual lives of a family living in a lavish country house, and the preparations they undergo to stage a welcome home dinner for their eldest son. But the happiness and excitement of the festivities soon turns on its head when a tragedy occurs on the estate and the finger of blame is pointed at the wrong person. This is something which 13-year-old Briony Tallis spends the rest of her life trying to atone.
Unfortunately, I found that parts two and three of the book did not live up to the promise of the first (it didn’t help that I had guessed the perpetrator of the crime).
While McEwan’s writing is gorgeous, with a deep undercurrent of suspense running throughout, I found that the ‘tricks’ he played on the reader towards the end were mean-spirited and disappointing.