Sunday, April 22, 2012

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement: Making of Reparations
for a Sin or Mistakes!
Everyday, we are in some way or the other, whether we know it or not, doing things that we may need to atone for. Recently, an incident came up in my life, and I really can not remember if I did something to this person in order to get the response that I recieved. I really pondered this situation and even called a few people whom I knew would tell me the "truth," and I still could not figure out if there was anything that I did to this person that I needed to atone for. To this end, I have decided unless they tell me what I did to them to elicit such a response, it is impossible for me to atone for it, and I guess there will be no atonement.

However, the main character, Briony, in Atonement by Ian McEwan, did something that she really needed to atone for, but throughout this entire novel, I had to ask myself time and time again, if she should atone for something that she did as a kid.

So, Briony, basically spends the rest of her life trying to atone for something that she did when she was thirteen years old. She told a lie that really impacted or almost ruined so many other people's lives. However, the two main people whose lives were effected the most, her sister and the guy whom she loved and he loved her back, had three request of Briony to atone for what she did, but it is not clear in the book whether or not she ever did those three things.

McEwan is a gifted writer and storyteller who knows how to tell a story from different perspectives and with a tinge of mystery. We get to know about many of the characters' thoughts and perspectives which really makes the reader sympathetic to them. He unravels the truth very slowly and this makes the reader wants to keep on reading. I was not too happy with the ending, because I always want too see lovers live happily ever after although I know that this is not always the way things end.

This book made me think a lot about love and forgiveness and the idea that we are commanded to love and forgive. Neither love or forgiveness are easy when we must love and forgive people whom we do not want to. In the case of Briony, I can understand why her sister and her lover wanted to stop loving her and never forgive her. I know for me that I would have wanted to torture her and then maybe I would have been able to love and then forgive her. In the case with my friend that I mentioned earlier, I know that I will continue to love and will forgive, but there will have to be some changes in the relationship if I did not do anything to solicit such a response, and I do believe that change is good.

If you want a book that is well-written and is about about love, class, WWII, and atonement, than this is the book for you.

Ian McEwan

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