Saturday 3 November 2007

Ian McEwan's Atonement.

Spoiler Warning! I'm assuming you already know the story. If you've not read the book or seen the film, I might be giving away the ending.

The book is surely all about information. There is the information that Briony gives to the police, but more significantly is her belief (which of course she doesn't actually believe) that she can atone by writing the story with a different, happy, ending. She implies that this makes it 'real' because that's all that remains, no one knows any different. This is wonderful because we think: no, it's not what really happened, yet Ian McEwan could have made it 'really' different if he'd written a different book...

This surely takes us into the realm of 'What is history?' (E. H. Carr). Can we ever know the truth of history? Is there such a thing?

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