Realism and modernism have been contending forces in the twentieth-century novel. Realists like Jonathan Franzen in a sense resist the confusions of modern life in the coherence of his narrative and the transparency of his prose. If Franzen's realism brings George Eliot to mind, Jonathan Safran Foer's experimentalism and verbal playfulness recalls Joyce. Modernists like Tsypkin and Foer cultivate a kind of narrative confusion and verbal inventiveness that are intended to mimic modern life. This contrast is somewhat overstated, because realism informs every novel worth its salt and the refractoriness of modernist narrative and style can be found in realist writers. The real mystery concerns Briony's stubborn insistence on Robbie's guilt, even as her suspicion grows that he has been falsely accused. The "solution" to the mystery involves the matter of class and of Briony's own unacknowledged passion for Robbie.