Williamsburg Book Club

Dear book club members:  On Saturday, September 7 (the weekend AFTER Labor Day), we'll meet to discuss "Atonement" by Ian McEwan.  According to the Amazon.com review:

"The novel opens on a sweltering summer day in 1935 at the Tallis family’s mansion in the Surrey countryside. Thirteen-year-old Briony has written a play in honor of the visit of her adored older brother Leon; other guests include her three young cousins -- refugees from their parent’s marital breakup -- Leon’s friend Paul Marshall, the manufacturer of a chocolate bar called “Amo” that soldiers will be able to carry into war, and Robbie Turner, the son of the family charlady whose brilliantly successful college career has been funded by Mr. Tallis. Jack Tallis is absent from the gathering; he spends most of his time in London at the War Ministry and with his mistress. His wife Emily is a semi-invalid, nursing chronic migraine headaches. Their elder daughter Cecilia is also present; she has just graduated from Cambridge and is at home for the summer, restless and yearning for her life to really begin. Rehearsals for Briony’s play aren’t going well; her cousin Lola has stolen the starring role, the twin boys can’t speak the lines properly, and Briony suddenly realizes that her destiny is to be a novelist, not a dramatist.

In the midst of the long hot afternoon, Briony happens to be watching from a window when Cecilia strips off her clothes and plunges into the fountain on the lawn as Robbie looks on. Later that evening, Briony thinks she sees Robbie attacking Cecilia in the library, she reads a note meant for Cecilia, her cousin Lola is sexually assaulted, and she makes an accusation that she will repent for the rest of her life.

The next two parts of Atonement shift to the spring of 1940 as Hitler’s forces are sweeping across the Low Countries and into France. Robbie Turner, wounded, joins the disastrous British retreat to Dunkirk. Instead of going up to Cambridge to begin her studies, Briony has become a nurse in one of London’s military hospitals. The fourth and final section takes place in 1999, as Briony celebrates her 77th birthday with the completion of a book about the events of 1935 and 1940, a novel called Atonement.

In its broad historical framework Atonement is a departure from McEwan’s earlier work, and he loads the story with an emotional intensity and a gripping plot reminiscent of the best nineteenth-century fiction. Brilliant and utterly enthralling in its depiction of childhood, love and war, England and class, the novel is a profoundly moving exploration of shame and forgiveness and the difficulty of absolution."

We hope you'll be able to join us to discuss this book, as well as visit friends and have a good time!  Looking forward to seeing you then,

Lisa



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  • Susan M.

    I caught a bridge opening at the Coleman. Hopefully I'll be moving again soon. ..

    September 7, 2013

    • Susan M.

      Me too. But I still could have justified not showing up and written it differently in my journal. :)

      1 · September 8, 2013

    • Lisa P.

      good one!

      September 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I hope that I can finish reading "Atonement" for my FIRST book club meeting. Otherwise, looking forward to it.

    August 15, 2013

    • Lisa P.

      It was good to meet you! I hope you'll come again!

      September 8, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks for your generosity and hospitality. I enjoyed the evening, but have to admit to not having everyone's names down yet. I look forward to another book club, where I could possibly retain a few more names =) It was wonderful to meet you and Bob--what a lovely home you have! Thanks again.

      1 · September 8, 2013

  • Dan N.

    Looks like I will have to miss this one. Will miss you all!!!

    September 4, 2013

    • Bob P.

      It looks like I'll have to shoulder the male perspective all by myself.

      September 5, 2013

    • Lisa P.

      good to see you last night!

      September 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'll miss seeing everybody, but wasn't able to get to this book or movie. I'd be a complete dud! Hope to see you in October.

    September 7, 2013

    • Lisa P.

      we missed you! hope to see you again soon!

      September 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I've over-booked for today. Sorry! I read the book years ago and I've seen the movie, but basically just wanted to see everyone!

    September 7, 2013

    • Lisa P.

      and we'd like to see you again! come see us soon!

      September 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    THe baby is my great grandaughter whoI am the primary caretaker. She is 7 weeks old now and will be just over 3 months old then ?

    July 14, 2013

    • Lisa P.

      It's been a while since your original question, which I'm not finding, but I think you were asking if you could bring the baby to the bookclub meeting? We're not anti-baby, but I'm having trouble imaging a baby who won't cry during a two-hour stretch which would include loud adult voices or laughter. The book club really is for the adults to feel at home and comfortable enough to visit with each other, and even discuss a book. I really don't see babies or little kids as conducive to the environment we try to create for people's relaxation.

      July 15, 2013

    • Lisa P.

      And I'm sorry to have to say that, because I know how proud you must be of your great-granddaughter, and in another setting she'd be very welcome in our home, but babies and little kids are just not compatible with book club meetings.

      July 15, 2013

  • Lisa P.

    I didn't find an opening to say this at last night's meeting, but I wanted to recommend Tana French's following novels, "The Likeness", which picks up on the female character introduced in the novel we read together, "In the Woods", and "Faithful Place", which then picks up on a character she introduces in "The Likeness". I liked French's writing enough to get her follow-up novels, even though I was disappointed in one part of her ending in the one we read together, and I wasn't wrong. She really delivers in the follow-ups. I'm currently reading the fourth, "Broken Harbor". Well worth finding if you kind of liked the one we read in April.

    July 14, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I obtained ""The Likeness but have not started it yet I hope to be able to start reading more soon !

      1 · July 14, 2013

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