Just finished a great book: Atonement by Ian McEwan. It’s blood curdling real in two senses: the psychological and the actual. Psychologically, McEwan knows how to get into his characters, to develop them so well you know them intimately and in fact grow to love them dearly. The actualities of the WW2 scenes in France are deeply and tragically believable and have tremendous descriptive force. The experiences of the young nurse, Briony her name, with the returning soldiers from the battle of Dunkirk are psychologically real and deeply affecting. And the final atonement of Briony is heart breaking but necessary as she makes further confessions to the young lovers, one of whom she had nearly destroyed through a crime she committed as a child, a crime which came about because of her fantasizing and desire to be a novelist at the age of thirteen. This is fiction but it all seems so real and believable: we see how seemingly trivial actions and events produce far reaching and tragic consequences.

OK, you can see I’m carried away with this. I knew nothing about Ian McEwan before I read this book. Here’s an interview of McEwan by Richard Dawkins:


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  1. barbara’s avatar

    Hi Seev,
    How are you doing ? We both seem to have our noses buried in books at this time ! I’m recovering from surgery, and have a little bit of leisure for reading.

    “Atonement” sounds gripping.Thanks for the recommendation.
    I’m going through the Sister Fidelma series ( I’m gradually buying used copies of each title).These are medieval mysteries, set in 7th century Ireland.
    My last one is called “The subtile serpent”.

    Take care my friend :)

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Hi Barbara,
    The Sister Fidelma series sounds very interesting. I’ll have to check it out. Glad you’re recovering nicely from the surgery. I went to your site right away to find out about it and left a message.
    You take care too my friend :-)

  3. Minds Erased’s avatar

    Glad you’re discovering Ian McEwan. I’ve read a few of his, and he is absolutely brilliant. Check out “Saturday” as well.

    I’ve been on a Philip Roth kick lately. Not exactly easy, uplifting reading, much like McEwan. Ah yes, to be told the brutal truth rather than be comforted by falsehoods. Ignorance be damned!!

  4. Mardé’s avatar

    There’s a long article in the New Yorker about McEwan which covers all his major books. Saturday was one mentioned quite a bit. Maybe I’ll get that next.

    Yes! The brutal truth is a must! Self-deception is to be avoided at all cost, and it’s so easy to fall into it. I read some reviews of Human Stain by Roth, and among other things it sounds like it’s a great treatment of how easily people can fall into hypocrisy.

  5. Border Explorer’s avatar

    I enjoyed the film Atonement, but perhaps since you’ve read the novel it might not live up to your expectations.

  6. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks, BE, for your comment. Yes, I’d still want to see the film, and I found that Ebert gives it four stars. I was in love with the book and the people in it. Now I’m onto McEwan’s “Saturday”, another deep but fascinating read.


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