Book Review: "Atonement" by Ian McEwan
Me: No literary character annoys me so much as Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights.
Briony Tallis: Hold my beer.
Plot Summary: This book is divided in three sections. In the first section we meet Briony Tallis, a 13-year-old with a flair for the dramatics and a precocious gift for writing. Even though she thinks herself as clever, her perceptions on human relationships are totally wrong and she ends up sending Robbie Turner (her older sister's love interest) to prison for an unjust reason.
Section 2: Fast forward a few years. World War II is in full fledge and the English - among which is Robbie, who in the meantime voluntarily enlisted himself in the army - are preparing the most disastrous evacuation ever (also known as "Dunkirk"). Robbie walks all the way there only to find that he must wait for his turn to fit in one of the boats. Meanwhile, both Cecilia and Briony (the latter rejected a place in Oxford) become nurses during the war period.
Section Three: Briony is a young adult now. She has learned a lot about herself working in dire conditions as a nurse and longs for Cecilia's - who in the meantime is living with Robbie after he came back from the war - pardon after having named Robbie as their cousin's rapist all those years ago. They end up reaching a compromise halfway and Briony starts writing this book, thus breaking the fourth wall.
SURPRISE! PLOT TWIST! None of this last bits happened. Yes, Briony became a nurse and Lola, the raped cousin, did marry her rapist (hello Stockholm Syndrome), but that was pretty much it. Robbie Turner never came back from France, where he died of a septicemia; Briony never gathered the courage to meet her sister after that, not even before the latter's death. She did, however, get away with her stupid mistakes, becoming a famous author who wrote this book - Atonement - precisely to atone for her stupidity. She is now very old and secretly very ill - Alzheimer - so she wants to put everything on record before she can no longer remember.
The Lady's Opinion: The only silver lining in this is McEwan's gorgeous writing and clever breaking of the fourth wall. 3/5 stars.