cover image ATONEMENT


Ian McEwan, , read by Josephine Bailey. . Publishing Mills, $24.95 (, abridged, four cassettes, 6 hrs., $24.95 ISBN p) ISBN 978-1-57511-113-1

British actress Bailey delivers a superb reading of Booker Prize–winning author McEwan's (The Child in Time; Amsterdam) ninth novel. Told in three parts—before, during and after World War II—the novel follows the son of the Tallis family's housekeeper, Robbie Turner, who grew up with the Tallis children. Now a Cambridge graduate, he suddenly finds his childhood friend, Cecilia Tallis, enchanting in ways he has never before noticed. As this romance blooms, Briony, Cecilia's younger sister, flits around the fringe, observing from a distance and drawing confused conclusions that will have an overwhelming impact on the rest of their lives. Bailey's crisp, clear, yet soft voice is a good match for this morality tale. Her delivery carries a sense of innocence throughout her performance but changes subtly for each section, establishing the appropriate atmosphere for each scenario. Her gentle reinforcement of the tone and pace set by McEwan provide the listener with a first-class audiobook experience. Based on the Doubleday hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 19, 2001). (May)