It's official Gaetan Soucy thought up the title first, Atonement published in 1997 as L'Acquittement and in 1999 by House of Anansi Press in English translation.
Gaetan Soucy studied physics at Universite de Montreal, completed a Master's degree in philosophy, and studied Japanese language and literature at McGill University.
So you see there's really no shortage of available novel material there and this one of the books I had put on Offspringette's Canadian shopping list so for reasons long-forgotten I really wanted to read it.
Atonement is an unusual book, of that there is no doubt, ambiguous and mystifying as musician Louis Bapaume travels back to Saint-Aldor to make reparation for the events of twenty years previously. For reasons unknown he has been chased out of the village.
This is where it all becomes a bit of a strange read but for some reason not one that I dismissed. I ploughed my way through the cloud of unknowing hoping for some form of revelatory light and I'm still not sure if I was blessed with understanding at the end or not.
I realise that none of this is in the least bit helpful in describing a book that for some reason I really did enjoy.
Perhaps there were no distractions to the focus on Bapaume's burden of guilt carried around for so long or perhaps there were too many?
Perhaps it's true, that shifting line between dream and reality gave it all that sense of disquieting, unsettled reading that keeps you alert and on the edge of your seat for any single mite of a nuance that could explain what's going on?
House of Anansi Press do provide one of those Reader's Guides as a set of questions, none of which I seem able to answer, except for Question Two
2) Do you feel you need to reread the book to understand it? How does this affect your experience as a reader?
but still I don't feel too bad.
Question 12 likewise
12) How do you account for the fact that Gaétan Soucy wrote Atonement in just ninety-nine days?
I can't explain any of that either. Perhaps the book is nothing more than an exposition of conscience and what it can do to a man?
Perhaps it's a load of old tosh?
Perhaps we try and read too much into a book that eludes us?
Perhaps it's emperor's new clothes?
Perhaps I am liking it because Offspringette made the effort to cart it all the way back from Canada for me?
I certainly don't seem able to explain it but I do know very strangely that I want to read more by Gaetan Soucy.
That's an awful lot of perhapsing but finally perhaps someone else could read it too and explain why I liked it?