1/04/2008

Atonement


Almost can't bring myself to write about this book, I love it that much. Somehow , putting my feelings down in words takes away the specialness, in the same way that the Bedouin won't let you take their photo, b/c they believe it takes away part of their soul.

Do you love sad love stories ? Dr Zhivago ? Rome and Juliet ? Tale of Two Cities ? Carousel ? Cold Mountain ? I was trying to explain to husband dear that just b/c a book is sad, doesn't mean it isn't beautiful. Read it and judge for yourself : A bossy naive young girl is so busy with her plays and annoying cousins that she completely misinterprets her older sister's love affair, and through a series of misfortunes, her imperious self-certainty ruins everything for everyone. She doesn't mean it, and it takes her years to figure out what she inadvertently did, and then it's too late to fix it.

The first half of the book is very slow paced - a single day recounted in mind numbing detail. Masterpiece Theater.Keep going - it gets better.

The movie is a good version of the book. The sex scenes are hot - don't take your mother ( like I did.) Just bring some Kleenex for the sad parts.
It was not until I read the author's other novel , Amsterdam - the book that won Ian McEwan the Man Booker prize - that I realized what these two books were all about. While reading Amsterdam, I kept asking myself, where are we going with all this ? Somewhere about halfway through, I realized, this is a retelling of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. It is as if the author said to himself, if WS were to write "JC" today, how would he tell it ? Who would his characters be ? So he recast this story with modern day politicians and lets the events fall as they would with modern consequences. Once I realized that, I started to think more about Atonement. It was then that I realized, ok, maybe we are on a Shakespearean roll here. And that was when it hit me - if you took Romeo and Juliet, and retold it with ( fairly) modern day characters and situations, this is the story you would get.

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