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13-year-old Briony Tallis does something terrible in the summer of 1935, permanently affecting the futures of those around her. She spends the rest of her life trying to atone for her horrific mistake. Set against the backdrop of World War II England and illuminated by McEwan’s beautiful prose, Atonement follows the lives of everyone affected by Briony’s error. The novel seamlessly encompasses a love story, a war narrative, and a coming-of-age novel. In the end, Atonement is first and foremost about the awesome power of fiction, which can destroy lives, but ultimately provides Briony’s only chance for redemption.
Reviewed by Meri H., Main Library
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