Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Atonement by Ian McEwan

I found the book less confusing and easier to follow than the movie. This is possibly because I saw the movie first, but more likely because the book with its internal dialogue is better able to communicate a sense of time. While both the book and movie use flashbacks to flesh out episodes from various characters' perspectives, the artifice is clearer and works better in the book.

The book is broken up into three parts and an epilogue. Since I knew the plot, I struggled through Part One with a feeling of dread. The inescapability of it all almost prompted me to put the book down more than once.

Yet, once I reached Part Two, I was engrossed. As usual, the book, being so much richer than the movie in communicating motivations and thought processes, provided a degree of detail which made Cecelia, Robbie and Briony, among others, easier to understand. Being privy to Briony's sentiments and emotions allowed me to more fully understand her actions.

I basically read Parts Two and Three and the Epilogue straight through last night. While I liked the movie's epilogue, I liked the book's epilogue better. I understand that including it would have made the movie too long but I enjoyed the additional resolution it portrayed.

I'm not sure that I'll read any additional Ian McEwan. I'm not sure that his point of view, his darkness, is something I'm entirely comfortable with. But that's probably the point.

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