This month’s theme for the Blogger Book Nook group is Time Machine (historical fiction). The requirements were quite broad – the book you review just has to be set in the past, whether typically ‘historical’ or set in the 90s. While I’m a fan of the classics of the Brontes and Austen, I’m not generally a fan of modern historical fiction, so this was an interesting one for me.
1. If you could time travel either to the past or the future, which would you pick and why?
I think I’d like to have a nose into the future. We know about the past and I’d like to know how things turn out.
2. Historical novels aren’t always accurate in their details – is this something that bothers you? Why/why not?
Yes, particularly if it’s in a period that is well documented or features historical figures. Obviously some degree of artistic license will need to be taken but I’d rather something more factual.
3. Is there one specific historical era that especially interests you? What novels set in that time would you recommend?
I quite like the drama of war-time stories, as it’s recent enough that still feels relatable and there are some truly heart-breaking stories. I recommend The Book Thief, The Diary of Anne Frank and Birdsong.
4. Which historical figure (fictional or real!) would you most like to have dinner with?
I reckon a dinner party with the Bennets (Pride & Prejudice) would be pretty interesting.
5. Do you find historical fiction an appealing genre? Why/why not?
Not especially, although, as with most genres, there are always some exceptions. I guess I find it hard to relate to, although Jane Austen is timeless.
For this month’s review I chose Atonement. I saw the film just after it was released on DVD and have been meaning to read it ever since.
For those not already familiar, Atonement begins between the two world wars, with a thirteen year old girl witnessing something she is too young to understand. Her imagination gets the better of her, a young man is wrongly imprisoned and she spends the next sixty years trying to atone for her crime.
Having seen the film, I read the book not only knowing the ending but also with a pre-existing bias towards some of the characters, so the story didn’t unfold for me the way it would for someone approaching it for the first time. That could be part of why I found it so hard going.
I found the first quarter to a third of the book really slow and I cursed myself for rarely being able to abandon a book once I’ve started it. Usually I keep at a book I’m not enjoying because I’m still curious about how it ends. In this case I was curious to see how faithful the adaptation was.
I like the plot but I’m just not a fan of the way it was told. I’ve not read any of Ian McEwan’s other novels so I’d be interested to know if this book is a good reflection of his story telling generally before I pick up another title.