BOOK: Atonement, by Ian McEwan
1. I was told by several people, upon hearing that I was tackling Atonement this month for the book club, that it was a rather dull book. What I want you to consider is the difference between ‘Dull’ and ‘Detailed’ writing. Do you think the novel was dull? Why do you think some people would describe it as such? Did you appreciate Ian’s use of extreme description in Part One of the book, to engage you in the day’s events?
2. What do you think of McEwans use of imagery and his description of human emotion? Do you agree that the novel was able to make you understand how the characters are feeling about the same event from a variety of perspectives? To what degree of talent and skill was this accomplished?
3. How realistic do you believe the series of events and ‘conclusions’ leading up to Robbie’s arrest were?
4. Young Briony’s character, do you believe it an accurate representation of an 11 year old at that time?/in that situation?
5. What do you think about Cecelia’s transformation into a responsible adult upon returning home from School? How did you feel about her relationship with her family? How and why did it change? How did these changes affect her ultimately fateful decisions?
6. After finishing Part One, what did you think/how did you feel about the arrest of Robbie? Who did you believe committed the assaults at the time? What did you think of Lola’s reaction and disclosure about the assaults? Was general silence justified in her state of shock?