It is June 1962. In a hotel on the Dorset coast, overlooking Chesil Beach, Edward and Florence, who got married that morning, are sitting down to ...Show synopsisIt is June 1962. In a hotel on the Dorset coast, overlooking Chesil Beach, Edward and Florence, who got married that morning, are sitting down to dinner in their room. Neither is entirely able to suppress their anxieties about the wedding night to come..."On Chesil Beach" is another masterwork from Ian McEwan - a story about how the entire course of a life can be changed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.Hide synopsis
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This is a fine short novel, the first half alternating between "dry" and "beautifully, perfectly put." Somewhere fairly early in the last half, though, the 'dry' completely gives way to writing that may make you wish you'd written it, and this writing speeds you on to an end of lingering power.
The backstories of the two lovers interested me far more than the actual wedding night (as well as it should have since the lives of young people are really not that interesting, without dragging in their parents and sentimental educations). The ending is my favorite kind of ending, sad and cuts me off from feeling complete.
This is a novel written about a time not so long ago when private things were private. This novel also speaks of the differences between men and women and what is important and what isn't . It also speaks of opportunites lost, words and attitudes that should probably not be expressed and words and attitudes that are not shared and should have been. Poignant because of so many missed opportunites,this short novel will stay with you long after you finish reading.
After reading several reviews of this novel, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it, even though I am a great fan of Ian McEwan's work. How much could one write about a single night, a wedding night, and did I really want to invest in what sounded like a voyeuristic novel? But On Chesil Beach is about so much more. It's a novel of growing up, of getting to know oneself, of love and loss and regret and success, of expectaions and hopes, and of what might have been. It's about the way time and place shape our lives, even as we resist their influence. In short, it's a lovely little novel, beautifully written, to which we can all relate. I was truly surprised by how long it lingered with me. McEwan's characters seem to be getting more introspective with each novel--perhaps a sign of his own aging.
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