Sunday, July 27, 2008

Contemplation in the Reading Room

Reading 'Atonement' by Ian McEwan compelled me to face something in my own writing style that I abhor;the ability to start something with compelling promise and then force it to dwindle to obscurity.'Atonement' is the story of Briony,a girl gifted with a wonderful imagination that goes haplessly wayward and leaves a scar that can never heal.She almost single handedly ruins a young life full of promise, tears apart a close knit family and lives to make amends for her irrevocable folly.

I loved McEwan's treatment of Briony's innate complexity,the studied narrative of life in Britain during the 1930s and the unfortunate series of events culminating in the conviction of an innocent man.The book comes in three parts.Sadly, the brilliance of each part diminishes progressively, leaving the reader feeling cheated at the end.It brought back the memory of 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Cohello; another book that began with what seemed like an uncommon spiritual premise and ended with the fizzle of a moral science textbook.

I too plead guilty to the same crime against literature; the inability to fill the increasing void as the pages progress.Perhaps I'm just a diva with a deficit of attention.If only I were an anachronism instead of being contemporary!


anuj said...

I've seen the movie, and although I didn't like it too much (the end was disappointing and was in someway an imitation of Titanic, another painful love saga that I put myself through), however, I can imagine that reading the book is probably a better experience -- the narration, even in the movie, was pretty good too -- and the scenes are left to the reader to construct.

Shamit Bagchi said...

I felt dazed after reading The Alchemist - certainly not in my fav list. You have piqued my interest in the McEwan book - is this the one in which the entire story spans across one day ...?

La Diva! said...

Hey Anuj- I haven't seen the film.Reading the book was only rewarding till the end of the first part.The rest just got more and more lame.

Shamit-I wouldn't say that the story spans an entire day. I would say that the events of one day shape the lives of three people forever.You can read it though; the characters are interesting.