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Ian McEwan

Ellie82

New Member
Can I turn that around and ask why you didn't like the ending? What were you expecting, what did you think it was building up to? Also can you actually relate to the characters in this book at all, that might be part of why you didn't like it, because you can't understand where Briony's coming from.
 

Maya

New Member
Oh yes, of course. :)
The ending was disappointing because I didn’t like that final, somewhat surprising twist. McEwan, not being the “real” author and you not being sure any longer, about what were “real” and what was made up. It just simply didn’t work for me; I know it did for a lot, but not me. The narrator just turned out to be a manipulating… something! Just unreliable. So I just felt like I was laid to, and just about everything, or most of what I read was “false”.
What was I expecting? Nothing! I just wanted it to end a long time before it did. You mustn’t think I hated it, I’m glad I read it, because I really enjoyed half of it. I still do.

Ellie82 said:
Also can you actually relate to the characters in this book at all, that might be part of why you didn't like it, because you can't understand where Briony's coming from.
I don’t think you have to be able to relate to the characters in a book, in order to like it, however, where does Briony come from?
 

Ellie82

New Member
Maya said:
McEwan, not being the “real” author and you not being sure any longer, about what were “real” and what was made up. It just simply didn’t work for me; I know it did for a lot, but not me. The narrator just turned out to be a manipulating… something! Just unreliable. So I just felt like I was laid to, and just about everything, or most of what I read was “false”.

Wow, sorry, I've never thought of it like that. Have to say that didn't cross my mind when I was reading it, it seemed quite natural to me.

Maya said:
I don’t think you have to be able to relate to the characters in a book, in order to like it

I agree, but I think it helps. Is that true for anyone else that liked it?

Maya said:
however, where does Briony come from?

Well I think shes living with that kind of guilt that very gradually grinds you down, shes spends a lot of time running from it but eventually and very suddenly has to do something about it.
 

Maya

New Member
Ellie82 said:
Wow, sorry, I've never thought of it like that. Have to say that didn't cross my mind when I was reading it, it seemed quite natural to me.
No need to apologize. :) I guess I just read it a little "different" from how you did.

Ellie82 said:
I agree, but I think it helps. Is that true for anyone else that liked it?
I don't know. But I agree with you on it might being a help, however I don't believe that you can't like a book, because you and the characters had nothing in common.

Ellie82 said:
Well I think shes living with that kind of guilt that very gradually grinds you down, shes spends a lot of time running from it but eventually and very suddenly has to do something about it.
I understood her and her feelings, but her guilt I wasn't that sure about, I felt she wanted "forgiveness" just kind of half-heartedly.
 

GeoffNelder

Member
Although I relished the word play McEwan used in Atonement, I felt the characters were too cliched. The insertion of the Dunkirk debacle, although well written, was just that - an insertion and had little bearing on the story.

But I am into Enduring Love. Partly because I wanted to give the man another opportunity to enthrall me and because I was told it started with a hot air balloon (it doesn't - its a gas ballooon) accident. One of my thrillers starts with a hot-air balloon incident. I am descending into the story although his inclination to wallow in analysis of every thought process is getting to be intrusive. McEwan is undeniably a must read.

Geoff
 

Stewart

Active Member
GeoffNelder said:
his inclination to wallow in analysis of every thought process is getting to be intrusive.

Wait until you read Saturday. It's the thoughts of Henry Perowne from morning to sleeping on a single day; every event, no matter how small, is analysed as to its overall meaning to him.
 

Morty

New Member
Has anyone read his early short stories? In Between Sheets and First Love, Last Rites. It's really a very different McEwan than the one we know from Atonement, Enduring Love or Saturday, but I really enjoyed reading them. Even then his insight into the complexities and absurdities of the human mind was unrivalled.

I'd recommend one called "Solid Geometry". It's one of the greatest short stories I've ever read.
 

GeoffNelder

Member
I remember Solid Geometry and it's showing on UK TV Channel 4. As I am fractionally a mathematician [sic] I relish literature with a topological twist. I too would recommend it, but I recall being woefully diismayed at the non-ending. But then I wouldn't know how to end it satisfactorally either.

Geoff
 

angerball

Active Member
Resurrecting an old thread here...:eek:

I've just finished Atonement, and I absolutely loved everything about it - the story, and the way it was written.

I definitely preferred the first section; I thought McEwen did such a good job of getting into Briony's head, and her way of thinking/interpreting what she saw. He is so detailed and descriptive about all her thought processes; he really makes the reader feel they know the character through and through.

I didn't feel the ending was a 'cheat'; I thought it was the only appropriate way to end the book, knowing what Briony was like - it shows that she never really changed throughout the book. I wouldn't say she atoned for her 'sins' either.

I'll be looking for other McEwen books now, for sure. :)
 

Will

Active Member
I really enjoyed Ian McEwan's 1998 Booker Prize winner, Amsterdam. A short but funny, and highly entertaining, read.
 

753C

Active Member
I liked Amsterdam too, Will. McEwan does a nice job of building suspense and injecting humor into most stories. I think he probably deserves most of the critical praise he gets.
 
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