Why this book?
I’ve read Ian McEwan’s Atonement three times, and each time has been a uniquely compelling and rewarding experience, almost solely because of its mastery of multi-perspective storytelling. This is a book that showed me how a narrative can eke out the truth of an event thanks to the intricate use of point of view.
In pre-war England, 13-year-old Briony witnesses innocent flirting between her older sister Cecilia and servant boy Robbie—and then commits an act that rocks the lives of all involved. Atonement gives you multiple “viewing angles” of the crimes and tragedies that inexorably follow Briony’s act, showing how individual points of view build to revelatory truth. This book is a profound influence on Loser Baby, which uses perspective to provide forward momentum but also moment-to-moment character enrichment.