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 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 ...
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 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.
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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.
May 11, 2009
Love Story Masquerading as a Honeymoon Story
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.
Jan 30, 2009
HOPELESS & UNNECESSARY
Wedding night disgusting, ending disappointing, wish I hadn't spent the time reading it.
Jun 30, 2008
The Road Not Taken
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.
Aug 15, 2007
An Unexpected Pleasure
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.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-08-27 It should not come as a surprise that Florence and Edward, newlyweds who cannot discuss their previous sexual experiences (or lack thereof), do not communicate out loud with one another until all their emotions boil over at the conclusion of the first night of their honeymoon. That their lives are constructed as narratives and memories makes this novella a particularly good choice for McEwan to perform his own work. McEwan provides a deft sense of cadence, timing and emphasis. McEwan reads this poignant, sad and occasionally amusing gem with entrancing skill, precision and perfect pace. In short, McEwan's performance is mesmerizing. An excellent addition to the recording is a thoughtful interview with the author. The conversation provides insight into McEwan's choice of setting, time period (1962) and characters. McEwan reveals that he tries out his works in progress on audiences, a technique that pays off beautifully. This author-read work is outstanding. Simultaneous release with the Nan A. Talese hardcover (Reviews, March 6). (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2007-03-05 Not quite novel or novella, McEwan's masterful 13th work of fiction most resembles a five-part classical drama rendered in prose. It opens on the anxious Dorset Coast wedding suite dinner of Edward Mayhew and the former Florence Ponting, married in the summer of 1963 at 23 and 22 respectively; the looming dramatic crisis is the marriage's impending consummation, or lack of it. Edward is a rough-hewn but sweet student of history, son of an Oxfordshire primary school headmaster and a mother who was brain damaged in an accident when Edward was five. Florence, daughter of a businessman and (a rarity then) a female Oxford philosophy professor, is intense but warm and has founded a string quartet. Their fears about sex and their inability to discuss them form the story's center. At the book's midpoint, McEwan (Atonement, etc.) goes into forensic detail about their naive and disastrous efforts on the marriage bed, and the final chapter presents the couple's explosive postcoital confrontation on Chesil Beach. Staying very close to this marital trauma and the circumstances surrounding it (particularly class), McEwan's flawless omniscient narration has a curious (and not unpleasantly condescending) fable-like quality, as if an older self were simultaneously disavowing and affirming a younger. The story itself isn't arresting, but the narrator's journey through it is. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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