Yesterday, I started reading Atonement by Ian McEwan for my Studies in Literature class. I read the back cover and was a little concerned about whether I’d like this book.
Then I opened it up and at the beginning there was a quote, or rather a passage:
Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from?Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable your own observation of what is passing around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open? Dearest Miss Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?”
They had reached the end of the gallery, and with
tears of shame she ran off to her own room.
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
I then figured that if this guy was smart enough to realize Jane’s brilliance, and begin his book by quoting one of my favourite Austens, then maybe his book wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Then I actually started reading it and found out that I was right — it is SUCH a good book. It’s so good that I’ve already underlined nearly every other line… it’s just dripping with brilliance. I love omniscient narration, because, while it distances you from the characters, it lets the author add so much amazing insight.