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By Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan s symphonic novel of affection and battle, early life and sophistication, guilt and forgiveness presents all of the delight of an excellent narrative and the provocation now we have come to count on from this grasp of English prose.

On a sizzling summer season day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a second s flirtation among her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia s early life good friend. yet Briony s incomplete grab of grownup factors along with her precocious literary presents brings a few crime that may swap all their lives. because it follows that crime s repercussions during the chaos and carnage of worldwide battle II and into the shut of the 20th century, Atonement engages the reader on each possible point, with an ease and authority that mark it as a real masterpiece.

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Sample text

This was not represented to the boy as a punishment, the idea being to instruct his unconscious that future lapses would entail inconvenience and hard work; but he was bound to feel it as reproof as he stood at the vast stone sink which rose level to his chest, suds creeping up his bare arms to soak his rolled-up shirtsleeves, the wet sheets as heavy as a dead dog and a general sense of calamity numbing his will. Briony came down at intervals to check on his progress. She was forbidden to help, and Jackson, of course, had never laundered a thing in his life; the two washes, countless rinses and the sustained two-handed grappling with the mangle, as well as the fifteen trembling minutes he had afterward at the kitchen table with bread and butter and a glass of water, took up two hours’ rehearsal time.

The muscular figure, squatting so comfortably on his shell, could blow through his conch a jet only two inches high, the pressure was so feeble, and water fell back over his head, down his stone locks and along the groove of his powerful spine, leaving a glistening dark green stain. In an alien northern climate he was a long way from home, but he was beautiful in morning sunlight, and so were the four dolphins that supported the wavy-edged shell on which he sat. She looked at the improbable scales on the dolphins and on the Triton’s thighs, and then toward the house.

Briony knew that if she had traveled two hundred miles to a strange house, bright questions and jokey asides, and being told in a hundred different ways that she was free to choose, would have oppressed her. It was not generally realized that what children mostly wanted was to be left alone. However, the Quinceys worked hard at pretending to be amused or liberated, and this boded well for The Trials of Arabella: this trio clearly had the knack of being what they were not, even though they barely resembled the characters they were to play.

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