Ripples of sin

Atonement.
By Ian McEwan. Doubleday,
351 pp., $26.00.

The title of Ian McEwan's novel sounds like a theology text. But few if any books of theology will grab readers by the lapels and pull them into their world like this novel, which was a finalist for the Booker Prize.


Known for his fine use of language and his ability to draw out suspense from spare plots, McEwan spins a gripping tale that weaves together themes of English manners, romance and war with a metafictional self-consciousness. But Mc-Ewan's primary theme is how we try to deal with the consequences of our behavior. Can we atone for our sins? Or do the ripples from the stones we drop spread beyond our control?

 

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