A novel of remarkable depth and poignancy from one of the most acclaimed writers of our time. It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. ...
A novel of remarkable depth and poignancy from one of the most acclaimed writers of our time. It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Newly married that morning, both virgins, Edward and Florence arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their worries about the wedding night to come. Edward, eager for rapture, frets over Florence's response to his advances and nurses a private fear of failure, while Florence's anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by sheer disgust at the idea of physical contact, but dreads disappointing her husband when they finally lie down together in the honeymoon suite. Ian McEwan has caught with understanding and compassion the innocence of Edward and Florence at a time when marriage was presumed to be the outward sign of maturity and independence. On Chesil Beach is another masterwork from McEwan--a story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.
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.
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