I’m currently reading Ian McEwan’s Atonement, and it’s seriously freaking me out. Here’s why.
I picked up Atonement at Borders a couple of weeks ago because I’d been meaning to read it for a while and because it was on their “3 for 2” table, which I have a hard time resisting. (But it’s always that third book that’s trouble, isn’t it? After finding two you know you want, mysteriously, all the rest seem to turn into middling food-themed chick lit.)
Halfway through the second chapter, I get this odd feeling of deja vu, as if I’ve read this part of the book before. It occurs to me that it was probably published as an excerpt in The New Yorker some time ago, and that’s why it seems vaguely familiar. Anyway, it’s enjoyable.
Then I reach the third or forth chapter, and I get the same feeling about another scene in the novel, as if I read it a long time ago, but didn’t really read it. It’s more like I dreamed it. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but once it happens, I’m thinking “oh yeah, that’s what was going to happen.”
Once I approached the middle of the book, it really started to get to me. I tried to explain the mystifying feeling to my husband, and he suggested that I probably read the book before and then forgot about it. I often read a book and then forget what it was about, and sometimes I start reading a book, and then realize that I had already read it a long time ago. But I’ve never had a such a hazy half-recognition that lasted throughout an entire book. And there’s no way that I could have read it a long time ago, because it was only published five years ago.
So I must conclude that I’m losing it. I must have read the book at some point within the past five years, and then it was zapped from my memory when I hit my head on something. Either that or Mr. McEwan somehow plagiarized my dreams.