Atonement by Ian McEwan

every once in a while, as i read a book, i am compelled less by the actual story than i am by the sheer beauty of the words that seem to lilt across the page and create images in my mind as crystal clear as the flowers that are blooming today outside my living room windows, a view i have gazed at for days while getting over illness. i knew early on that it wasn’t going to be a story that i would necessarily love-i knew from the cover that eventually we were going to war, which is never my favorite. so i was very slow at getting through the first third of atonement by ian mcewan, but at some point this week, i became gripped by the writing more than the story. by the end, yes, i was turning page after page to discover whether the love worth waiting for would ever be fulfilled, but for most of the book i found myself reading just to see what beauties the next sentence of the book would uncover for me. for a lover of words and language, this book was a feast.

there were times that a description felt like it was appearing to me in my living room, a vision from my delirium perhap, or just amazing writing. i could taste the words. the writing about first love was so affecting it evoked in my heart visions and emotions of my own firsts. made me blush. took me back. it made me long to write about that first kiss on the playground and to pen a young heart half so well.

at the end, i could hardly wait to see the movie to see what on earth they would do with all those words. descriptions. adjectives. and it was exquisite. phrases from the book rang in my head as my eyes feasted on the fountain, the pond, the house and its rooms-cecilia’s messy to briony’s tidy-they were all just as the author described. details throughout the film rung true to the book. as always there were some changes. but overall it was a pleasing afterward to reading the book. worthy of its acclaim.

note: i was still enchanted by james mcavoy as the hopeful love of jane austen since having seen and loved becoming jane last week, which didn’t hurt his set up for me as the hero of atonement. however, since characters carry over from movie to movie for me, i still also kept seeing him as a fawn, which as robbie turner, didn’t work at all.

1 Comment

  1. i know exactly what you mean about loving the words! when i was younger, i used to love the image of the shadow of a tree’s leaves on the ground (how there are little sunspots all mixed between). i remember reading Huck Finn and Their Eyes Were Watching God, and both authors described this exact thing beautifully. i felt connected to them! i love words too! i just don’t write them as well. 🙂

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