Title Profile & Character Information

Atonement

Annotation
On the hottest day of the summer of 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her older sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching Cecilia is their housekeeper’s son Robbie Turner, a childhood friend who, along with Briony’s sister, has recently graduated from Cambridge.

By the end of that day the lives of all three will have been changed forever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had never before dared to approach and will have become victims of the younger girl’s scheming imagination. And Briony will have committed a dreadful crime, the guilt for which will color her entire life.

In each of his novels Ian McEwan has brilliantly drawn his reader into the intimate lives and situations of his characters. But never before has he worked with so large a canvas: InAtonementhe takes the reader from a manor house in England in 1935 to the retreat from Dunkirk in 1941; from the London’s World War II military hospitals to a reunion of the Tallis clan in 1999.

Atonementis Ian McEwan’s finest achievement. Brilliant and utterly enthralling in its depiction of childhood, love and war, England and class, the novel is at its center a profound–and profoundly moving–exploration of shame and forgiveness and the difficulty of absolution.

Awards
2002  Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
2002  National Book Critics Circle Awards
2003  American Library Association Notable Books
2002  New York Times Editors' Choice
2002  Los Angeles Times Book Prizes

Characters
NameTallis, Briony
GenderFemale

NameTallis, Cecilia
GenderFemale

NameTurner, Robbie
GenderMale
TraitAmbitious

GenreFiction
Historical
Literary
Psychological
Saga
    --Family
TopicsCountry life
Family relationships
Sisters
False accusations
Betrayal
Shame
Loss of innocence
Guilt
World War II
Ex-convicts
Forgiveness
Redemption
SettingEngland
Dunkerque, France
France
Estate
Manor house
Rural