Is it ever too late to atone for one’s sins? Apparently so is the message delivered in the aptly name Atonement.
Briony Tallis, an indulged and privileged 13-year-old girl sees what she wants to and doesn’t exactly tell it like it was. As her version expands, she is too far in to stop the bleeding and the results have a lifetime of consequences.
Briony spends her entire adulthood attempting to right a wrong, yet her life and hopes do not have the happy endings she longed for. Her young and inexperienced imagination and flair for the dramatic result in tragedy for innocent young lovers.
The injured party, Robbie Turner is the son of the housekeeper for the wealthy Tallis family. His short-lived romance with Briony’s sister, Cecelia leaves him with only memories as he is sentenced to prison for a crime he did not commit. His short reprieve comes in 1940 as he serves with the British army to fight in France.
Cousin to Briony, Lola Quincy, is equally complicit as she has an opportunity, early on, to set the record straight, but for unknown reasons, fails to speak up. A beautifully elegant wife to the true heathen, Paul Marshall, she seems unaffected by the devastation she and her cousin have wreaked upon Robbie. Not someone I’d care to spend any time with.
The Tallis matriarch, Emily, is mostly bedridden with migraines, yet seems to rally when a crisis unfolds. She seemed to be a woman who found herself with a family near adulthood who she no longer knew and didn’t care to spend time with.
While I would certainly like to ask Mr. McEwan about his writing processes, I would most certainly not ask him anything about his ex-wife.
My rating for Atonement is a 7 out of 10.
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Next up, William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch…