📖: Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2001)
🍸: two figures by a fountain
Why this book?
I savored every word in this novel. The language is just as lush as the verdant grounds that surround the Tallis’ family estate. I thought the movie adaptation remained faithful to the tone and structure of the novel – translating McEwan’s richly textured narrative about love, war, class, and guilt into a film with an equally stunning soundtrack and cinematography. Both the film and novel are gorgeous pieces that can stand on their own, so I don’t think it matters if you see the movie first, then read the book, like I did. I still loved every bit of my reading experience.
The novel opens during the height of summer, in pre-WWII England, where 13-year-old Briony witnesses a surprising interaction between her sister, Cecilia, and Robbie, the son of their family’s cleaning lady – first at the fountain in front of their house, and then again in their library. Based on what she chooses to understand, Briony later makes an accusation that changes all their lives forever.
This story is so compelling in the way that it explores both the limitless and limiting power that writers have in constructing truth. Who benefits most from the act of revision? Is it the writer, her audience, or the characters in her story? For those of us who seek redemption and liberation, where do we find it – in fact or in fiction?
For all the Little Women (Gerwig adaptation) fans out there – you might like this one, with Saoirse Ronan in the role of Briony!
Why this drink?
For this pairing, I made a gimlet – a British cocktail for a British novel. I added a tiny bit of matcha to make the drink more green, like the Tallis’ English gardens and the emerald gown that Keira Knightley wears in the movie’s dinner scene.
two figures by a fountain
1.5 oz gin
0.5 oz lime
0.5 oz simple syrup
tiny dash of matcha powder
lime wheel or mint leaf
- Add all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well.
- Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
- Garnish with lime and/or a mint leaf.
Another round, please! 🥂
You might also like:
Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005)
Finished the book? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!