Archive | 12:56 pm

Atonement – Ian McEwan

19 Jul

I’m not good with recommendations. Having been made into a film (which I haven’t seen), I was wary of this text. Generally because I always find myself disappointed when told I will enjoy it.

So…it was better than expected. Following the path of Briony from childhood through to old age, with diversions to those who’d been affected by a choice Briony made at a young age; the story explores the relationships we all have with family and friends, when what we have done in our past cannot be forgotten, let alone forgiven.

From the view of someone trying to be a ‘writer’, I found an intriguing need to analyse McEwans choices within this text. You almost feel as if he is taking you on his own journey of exploration; whom he admires in literature, whilst questioning the choices made when putting pen to paper. What drives the need to create a scene, and knowing when to say this doesn’t work.

My only vice with this story; my compelling need to compare it to ‘A Woman of Substance’ written by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Unfortunate as very few texts stay in my conscience as that particular one. However, the similarity’s in terms of following one woman through her life, across the decades, cannot be ignored.

That aside, it is a good read. Certainly worthy of night-time reading. If you should remain unfamiliar with the plot, you will be left guessing. Ultimately wanting more.

My suggestion: At the very least try the first chapter.

First Published 2001.
Published by Vintage 2007.

The Library of Shadows – Mikkel Birkegaard

19 Jul

I hate the way people feel the need to analyse literature. Oh the author was thinking this, the symbolic meaning….whatever!

Sorry that may offend many people. Actually I don’t care. Can the idea that it’s just a good story not be enough?

Right, it could be. Well what about the idea that each book gains strength when its read, each copy, not each story. The more thumbed the pages, the better. Extreme yes, but Birkegaard explores this with such intense strength that you can believe it.

What about the potential of the power that a reader, or those that listen can empower the text further?

No, I have not lost it. I am aware that this is fiction. Fantastic fiction at that. The idea that somehow a book has more to it many of us can identify with, why else do some texts stop you from being able to put them down?

To say more about this bestseller would be to ruin it for all. I know you want a breakdown of the story. To be honest, the blurb on the back does not justify the need to read this, and I am happy to say I couldn’t do it justice. However, if you don’t have a passion for books, don’t bother, I doubt you’d get it.

My suggestion: Make sure you have plenty of free time.

First Published 2007
Published by Random House Group 2009