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Excerpt from Atonement

A vivid passage from Ian McEwan's magnificent Atonement, as Londoners quietly fear a German invasion during the early days of WWII:

The unease was not confined to the hospital. It seemed to rise with the turbulent brown river swollen by the April rains, and in the evenings lay across the blacked-out city like mental dusk which the whole country could sense, a quiet and malign thickening, inseparable from the cool late spring, well concealed within its spreading beneficence. Something was coming to an end. The senior staff, conferring in self-important groups at the corridor intersections, were nursing a secret. Younger doctors were a little taller, their stride more aggressive, and the consultant was distracted on his round, and on one particular morning crossed to the window to gaze out across the river for minutes on end, while behind him the nurses stood to attention by the beds and waited. The elderly porters seemed depressed as they pushed the patients to and from the wards, and seemed to have forgotten their chirpy catchphrases from the wireless comedy shows, and it might have even consoled Briony to hear again that line of theirs she so despised--Cheer up, love, it might never happen.

But it was about to.

May 26, 2007 in Books | Permalink

Comments

What page is this from?

Posted by: Olivia at Mar 28, 2009 11:40:11 PM