McEwan's Atonement begins on a hot day at an English country manor, the house of the Tallis family. Jack Tallis, the father, is not at home, as is the normal case. Emily Tallis, the mother, is in bed with a migraine headache. The children, therefore, are left fairly on their own. Briony, the thirteen-year-old fledgling writer, has created a play that she is rehearsing with her cousins, Lola, Jackson, and Pierrot, who have come to stay with them while their parents go through a divorce. This is a special day. Leon, the oldest child of the Tallis family, is coming home from London for a visit and Briony's play is for him.
Meanwhile, Cecilia Tallis, who is twenty-three and home from...
(The entire section is 1110 words.)