Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Home again, and while the sun was out, it felt good. An entire day of pouring rain has submerged my spirits considerably. Evidently, two more days of rain in the offing, so anything to keep the mood afloat at this point would be good.

The last week of vacation was terrific--lots of walks and fireplace fires in the evening. We listened to Ian McEwan's Atonement over about 6 nights or so. I adored it when I read it; I think I appreciated it even more from having listened to it. Ken and I had some heated discussions about the story. Men sometimes see things so differently--it's really interesting. I thought it telling that Robbie never acknowledges his role or his part in the tragic scenario that unfolds. He blames Briony totally and hates her completely, to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. Granted, Briony's childish misconception and her lie unfold the disaster that befalls Robbie, but it was Robbie's error in accidentally swapping the very personal, X-rated letter for the letter he intended to give Cecilia that makes events begin to snowball. Not only that, he makes the mistake of entrusting the letter to Briony to give to Cecilia: He gives it to Briony, of all people, the young girl he knows is impressionable and who is given to overly dramatize all situations. Not only that, but Robbie, with Cecilia, allows himself to get swept away in a flush of passion. They make love in the library, behind a curtain, when people are nearby in other rooms and are detected, naturally, by Briony. And Robbie does all this when he's the housekeeper's son and as the protege of Cecilia's father, who has put him through Oxford. No, of course he didn't deserve any part of what happened to him, but he wasn't a completely uninvolved, innocent bystander who made no choices in the matter either, which is how he sees himself. He commits a crime of class, which is no crime really, but in his world and in his time it certainly was.
The real villains are Paul, the Ammo candy bar manufacturer, Cecilia's mother and father, and the police. The Tallises and the police just assume he is guilty without investigating.
In any case, I'm writing all this in the hopes that by now other readers have read the book and will want to comment. Since I don't have my comments working, please email me and I'll post your thoughts.
A great book for discussion!


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