to read or not to read: atonement

As I was sorting books to sell to a used bookstore, I came across my copy of Ian McEwan’s Atonement and realized I didn’t know what to do with it.  If I’ve read a book already but don’t think I’ll read it again, I will sell it.  Admittedly, this doesn’t amount to a whole lot of books.  I always think I’ll want to reread — and therefore must have available at my fingertips — a lot more books than I actually do. 

But with Atonement, it’s not about rereading it. The question is whether I want to finish reading it at all.  I started it about a year — year and a half? — ago, got almost halfway through, decided I wasn’t going to like the ending, and abruptly stopped reading.  It has been sitting around, place still marked,  since then.  Every once in awhile I think about picking it back up.  I like McEwan’s writing, and this is a novel I think may very well work its way up to classic status.  But so far, I just haven’t convinced myself to do it.

So… Help!  If you’ve read Atonement, what do you think?  Worth returning to?  Or was my instinct to steer clear right on?  In other words, should I put it back on my shelf, or add it to my sell pile?

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~ by Molly on June 9, 2009.

3 Responses to “to read or not to read: atonement”

  1. I think you should finish. I didn’t particularly like the ending, well in fact I hated it and was depressed the rest of the day, but I felt satisfied when I finished it.

  2. If it’s been a year and a half since you started it, you’d be wise to start again at the beginning, but I think that goes for any book.

    I thought ATONEMENT was overrated, and I had a hard time finishing it. Might give it another shot someday, but I think some of McEwan’s other books are much better.

    • Typically, I’d agree with starting the book again after that long. I put Northanger Abbey down for about 6 months and went back to the beginning when I picked it back up. But I still have a surprisingly vivid sense of Atonement‘s beginning, which I’m sure speaks to McEwan’s skill as a writer.

      Perhaps the answer is reading something else by him instead. Any suggestions?

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