Ian McEwan’s “Atonement” Quotes (59 Quotes)



    It is quite impossible these days to assume anything about people's educational level from the way they talk or dress or from their taste in music. Safest to treat everyone you meet as a distinguished intellectual.

    She was like a bride-to-be who begins to feel her sickening qualms as the day approaches, and dares not speak her mind because so many preparations have been made on her behalf the happiness and convenience of so many good people would be put at risk.


    It was common enough, to see so much death and want a child. Common, therefore human, and he wanted it all the more. When the wounded were screaming, you dreamed of sharing a little house somewhere, of an ordinary life, a family line, connection.


    Something has happened, hasn't it? ... It's like being up close to something so large you don't even see it. Even now, I'm not sure I can. But I know it's there.

    A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.

    From this new and intimate perspective, she learned a simple, obvious thing she had always known, and everyone knew; that a person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn, not easily mended.

    It was not generally realized that what children mostly wanted was to be left alone.


    A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it.


    It was thought, perception, sensations that interested her, the conscious mind as a river through time, and how to represent its onward roll, as well as all the tributaries that would swell it, and the obstacles that would divert it. If only she could reproduce the clear light of a summer's morning,

    The anticipation and dread he felt at seeing her was also a kind of sensual pleasure, and surrounding it, like an embrace, was a general elation--it might hurt, it was horribly inconvenient, no good might come of it, but he had found out for himself what it was to be in love, and it thrilled him.

    Above all, she wanted to look as though she had not given the matter a moment's thought, and that would take time.

    He had never before felt so self-consciously young, nor experienced such appetite, such impatience for the story to begin.

    It wasn't torpor that kept her - she was often restless to the point of irritability. She simply liked to feel that she was prevented from leaving, that she was needed.

    The evasions of her little novel were exactly those of her life. Everything she did not wish to confront was also missing from her novella--and was necessary to it.

    And now she was back in the world, not one she could make, but the one that had made her, and she felt herself shrinking under the early evening sky. She was weary of being outdoors, but she was not ready to go in. Was that really all there was in life, indoors or out? Wasn't there somewhere else for people to go?

    He knew these last lines by heart and mouthed them now in the darkness. My reason for life. Not living, but life. That was the touch. And she was his reason for life, and why he must survive.

    I've never had a moment's doubt. I love you. I believe in you completely. You are my dearest one. My reason for life. Cee

    The library door was thick and none of the ordinary sounds that might have reminded them, might have held them back, could reach them. They were beyond the present, outside time, with no memories and no future,

    And she did not miss his presence so much as his voice on the phone. Even being lied to constantly, though hardly like love, was sustained attention; he must care about her to fabricate so elaborately and over such a long stretch of time. His deceit was a form of tribute to the importance of their marriage.

    He was looking at her with amused suspicion. There was something between them, and even she had to acknowledge that a tame remark about the weather sounded perverse.

    Let his name be cleared and everyone else adjust their thinking. He had put in time, now they must do the work. His business was simple. Find Cecilia and love her, marry her and live without shame.

    These memories sustained him, but not so easily. Too often they reminded him of where he was when he last summoned them. They lay on the far side of a great divide in time, as significant as B.C. and A.D. Before prison, before the war, before the sight of a corpse became a banality.

    And though you think the world is at your feet, it can rise up and tread on you.



    These were everyday sounds magnified by darkness. And darkness was nothing - it was not a substance, it was not a presence, it was no more than an absence of light.


    More Ian McEwan Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Life - Time - Love - Thought & Thinking - Mind - Sense & Perception - World - Ian Mcewan Quotes on Future - Education - Truth - Smoking - Ian Mcewan Quotes on Man - Youth - Light - Ian Mcewan Quotes on People - Ian Mcewan Quotes on Justice - Ian Mcewan Quotes on Imagination & Visualization - Ian Mcewan Quotes on Media & News - Change - View All Ian McEwan Quotations

    More Ian McEwan Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Atonement

    Related Authors


    Zig Ziglar - Tony Robbins - Mark Twain - Suze Orman - Robert Fulghum - Michael Crichton - Lu Yu - Lewis Carroll - James Allen - Harriet Beecher Stowe


Page 1 of 2 1 2

Authors (by First Name)

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

Other Inspiring Sections

Login to your account below

Fill the forms bellow to register

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.