The sights were familiar, the inventory was the same, but now there was more of everything; vehicles, bomb craters, detritus. There were more bodies. He walked across the land until he caught the taste of the sea, carried across the flat, marshy fields on a freshening breeze. The one-way flow of people with a single purpose, the constant self-important traffic in the air, the extravagant cloud advertising their destination, suggested to his tire but overactive mind some long-forgotten childhood treat, a carnival or sports event on which they were all converging. There was a memory that he could not place, of being carried on his father’s shoulders up a hill toward a great attraction, toward the source of a huge excitement.– from Atonement, Ian McEwan
The problem these fifty-nine years has been this: how can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God? There is no one, no entity or higher form that she can appeal to, or be reconciled with, or that can forgive her. There is nothing outside her. In her imagination she has set limits and the terms. No atonement for God, or novelists, even if they are atheists. It was always an impossible task, and that was precisely the point. The attempt was all.
Brilliantly layered. Strong sense of place. Deep view of characters. Difficult to put down.
My plan is to see the film.