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Best of the Web

Websites

Ian McEwan's Website

Webcentral for all things McEwan-y. Lists of books, bibliography and criticism, a calendar showing when Mr. McEwan will appear at a book signing near you—plus a really earnest, rugged author photo that is earnest and rugged even by the standards of author photos.

Movie or TV Productions

Atonement (2007)

The 2007 movie is a condensed but mostly faithful adaptation. A couple things are changed, and some bits are left out—we don't really hear about Jackson's bed wetting, for example, and Briony's motives for accusing Robbie are much less clear than they are in the book. But much of the dialogue is taken straight from the page, and it's clear director Joe Wright tried to get the spirit of the book whenever he could.

We missed the pig chase, though.

Articles and Interviews

"Life Was Clearly Too Interesting in the War"

A 2002 interview by the Guardian newspaper, focusing on McEwan's historical research for Atonement. As a bonus, see McEwan get all huffy when the interviewer tells him his books aren't very emotional. (How could you not cry at the end of Atonement? Sheesh.)

"The Opening Is Almost Perversely Ungripping."

Geoff Dyer gives an enthusiastic review of Atonement in the Guardian. But if you had trouble getting into the novel, it's nice to know that Dyer doesn't think it's your fault.

"Ian McEwan Is Often Mistaken for a Major Novelist. "

This, on the other hand, is an honest-to-goodness takedown, arguing that McEwan is overrated and too wedded to scare moments and pulp shocks. It discusses his work as a whole, but Atonement gets mentioned.

"How Best to Saw Through a Human Thigh Bone"

An enthusiastic review of Atonement in the New York Times which compares and contrasts it with McEwan's earlier more gruesome novels.

"Briony's Stand Against Oblivion"

A scholarly essay focusing on the self-referential narrative in Atonement, and explaining why people who don't like it are wrong, wrong, wrong, dagnabit.

Video

"There Is No Real Here. This All Happened in My Own Head."

McEwan talks about why Briony changed what really happened. This is the one video you should watch, if you can only watch one of these videos.

Ian McEwan's Advice for Aspiring Writers

Like the title says, Ian McEwan tells you what to do to write like Ian McEwan. (Creative writing programs can be useful, he says—but take them in moderation.) Filled with high quality, low key snark.

"All Writers Are Lying If They Deny Some Pleasure In It"

A video interview with McEwan from 2012 where he talks about the enjoyment he gets from writing.

Ian McEwan on Getting a Bad Grade On An Essay About His Own Novel

McEwan gives a lecture about helping his son with an essay on his novel… and finding out that the English teacher didn't agree with his interpretation.

Images

The Original Bernini Fountain

This is the original fountain that was copied to make the fountain in the Tallises' garden. So you can look at this and imagine Cecilia and Robbie dropping the vase in and startling the big stone fish. It's not our fault if the next thing you imagine is Cecilia getting naked.

Awaiting Evacuation

An image of men awaiting evacuation at Bray-Dunes near Dunkirk in 1940.

Cecilia's Dress

One of the best parts of the film version of Atonement is the design of Cecilia's green dress. Seriously.

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