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Critique • Quotes • At the movies

Atonement first editionFirst edition
By Ian McEwan
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

First publication

Literature form(s

Literary, historical fiction

Writing language

Author's country

Approx. 123,500 words

Notable lines

The play—for which Briony had designed the posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crępe paper—was written by her in a two day-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.

— First line

It wasn’t only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.


It was not generally realized that what children mostly wanted was to be left alone.


A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it.


From this new and intimate perspective, she learned a simple, obvious thing that she had always known, and everyone knew: that a person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn, not easily mended.


But now I must sleep.

— Last line


Critique • Quotes • At the movies

See also:

Mansfield Park


Jude the Obscure

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