A young girl’s imagination runs riot with far-reaching and devastating consequences, in Ian McEwan’s masterpiece of metafiction.

On a hot day in the summer of 1934, 13-year-old Briony sees her older sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching is Cecilia’s friend from childhood, Robbie Turner. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed forever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not imagined at its start. Briony will have committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.

The Booker Prize 2001
Published by
Jonathan Cape
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Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan

About the Author

Ian McEwan, born in Aldershot, England, is a critically acclaimed author and winner of the 1998 Booker Prize
More about Ian McEwan

Atonement...is certainly his finest and most complex novel. It represents a new era in McEwan’s work

Atonement on screen

Atonement was adapted into an award-winning film, released in 2007 and starring Kiera Knightley and James McAvoy.

The cast of the film also included Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave, and was directed by Joe Wright.

Atonement won the Bafta for Best Film and the Golden Globe for Best Drama Motion Picture, both in 2008, among other awards.

Watch Atonement on Netflix here

Kiera Knightley and James McAvoy in a still from Atonement.

Other nominated books by Ian McEwan

On Chesil Beach
Prize winner
Black Dogs
The Comfort of Strangers