Impressed into insignificance
Atonement (Ian McEwan)
Reading this book, I couldn't help but feel that whatever I will ever write myself will never amount to more than an exercise in futility.
It is a surprising read on many levels: the story is dark, but gripping. Several times, drastic turns of the narrative happen in the middle of a paragraph, tripping me up and having a truly exhilarating effect: it is anything but predictable and thus extremely compelling to keep turning those pages.
Then there is the self-referential structure and the overlapping viewpoints (the same events told more than once, but from different characters' points of view): highly technical, yet not obtrusive in the least.
As the back cover says: "By the end of that day the lives of all three [main characters] will have been changed for ever." Very true. You never see the changing event coming until it hits you square in the face. The rest of the book I spent reading in a single, drawn out gasp of shock. Shock at what happened and the ever increasing magnitude of the impact it is bound to have on the lives of all involved.
On another level, it gave me a glimpse of what life in England was like just before and during the start of the Second World War. There is enough material to give even the most reluctant history student reason to reconsider.
I picked this book up at a whim, but I can heartily reccommend it.