I know I am way behind just finally getting to this now, but better late than never. Excellent read. A study of guilt and atonement, childhood and adulthood, innocence and deceit, and all the blurry places inbetween. Briony is a young child with a blurred perception of the world, attempting to step into the adult world and adult situations but with childlike reactions and a lack of understanding that causes her to see the world in black and white, in absolutes. She is a fantasist and while some of this can be attributed and excused due to her age, not all of it can be. She crosses a line and makes a false accusation that shatters her family and destroys a young man’s future. Amidst this wreckage, WWII begins and strews the pieces even further apart. (There is a Ming vase that provides a telling metaphor for the family)
The post modern style works particularly well here in light of the times and perspectives covered in the book. The ending was one of my favorite parts of the book, when Briony retreats almost to her childlike ideas and reveals the true nature of the book itself. I had a hard time starting with this one, but after the first 100 pages it took off and I was totally absorbed in it. Highly recommended read!