When I saw this as a film, my first response was that I should have reaad it.  Given much of the plot, and the emphasis on writing as a way to right the wrongs of the past, I’m amazed this was made into a film.  They did quite a good job of it though really.

So recently I bit the bullet and read (well, listened to) the many hours of Atonement by Ian McEwan.  Usually he and I get along well, with one or two minor exceptions.  The level of detail in the first parts of this novel made me feel like this was going to be one of those exceptions, but the plot gradually began to move more quickly.

This is a wonderful story, and a real reader’s novel – its epic, graceful and moving.  It also makes you think about the power of narrative and reinvention, which is at the crux of this story. Or perhaps redefinition would be a better term? Either way the power of writing is the quest for understanding and for justice in this very sad story. 

Reading this gave me a new respect for the film, which I found slightly less than wholly satisfactory at the time.  I think I’ll be viewing it again.


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