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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Atonement, by Ian McEwan

Let's not beat around the bush. If I were ever asked to make a list of the ten worst books I've ever read, Atonement would be on that list. And pretty high up.

I read Saturday by Ian McEwan a few months ago; picked it up at an airport. I liked it. So when I saw the movie Atonement was playing on several of the flights I was recently on, I decided to get the book first, before watching the movie. What a mistake.

The plot of this book is superficial, not to say cheesy (a girl falsely accuses her sister's boyfriend for raping her cousin, and a long journey of "atonement" begins). McEwan's talent for descriptive writing is lost in tediously long passages that made me flip back a few pages just to remember where the story was left off. I found myself not caring what would happen next, but calculating how many pages I have left. The book took me ages to read; time and again I found myself yawning after a few pages, then dozing off into blissful sleep.

Why waste words on such a terrible book. I have no idea why it became a bestseller and what all the hype is about. On a recent trip to London I bought On Chesil Beach, so I'm going to give McEwan another chance. Hopefully Atonement is nothing but an aberration.

I should have known though... Through the book cover (I got the mass paperback version, depicted above) I learnt that the main character in the book - that annoying, whining, wish-I-could-smack-her, spoilt brat - Briony, is played by Keira Knightley, one of the worst actresses recently seen on the big screen. On second thoughts, what a fitting choice...


Anonymous said...

Ciao Sharvul,
il tuo blog è davvero bello.
Condividiamo lo stesso modo di vedere la letteratura mondiale.
Ti verrò ancora a trovare.
A presto.

Sharvul said...


Grazie per i complimenti, anche si non penso di essere in grado di conoscere la "letteratura mondiale"... Spero di vederti qui piu spesso. A presto.

Anonymous said...

Ciao Sharvul,
che libri leggi?
Ho visionato la tua lista di libri preferiti e mi chiedevo cosa leggi adesso.
Io ho appena terminato "Per una donna" di Meir Shalev e l'ho trovato sorprendente, fuori da qualsiasi genere, una lettura sentita, vissuta e ogni parola davvero amata.
Ho appena iniziato di Amy Tan "Il circolo e..." troppo lungo questo titolo se è un buon libro presto lo saprò.
Ciao e a presto.