The #1 bestselling author of Saturday and Atonement brilliantly illuminates the collision of sexual longing, deep-seated fears and romantic fantasy in his unforgettable, emotionally engaging new novel. The year is 1962. Florence, the daughter of a successful businessman and an aloof Oxford academic, is a talented violinist. She dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, the earnest young history student she met by chance and who unexpectedly wooed her and won her heart. ...
The #1 bestselling author of Saturday and Atonement brilliantly illuminates the collision of sexual longing, deep-seated fears and romantic fantasy in his unforgettable, emotionally engaging new novel. The year is 1962. Florence, the daughter of a successful businessman and an aloof Oxford academic, is a talented violinist. She dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, the earnest young history student she met by chance and who unexpectedly wooed her and won her heart. Edward grew up in the country on the outskirts of Oxford where his father, the headmaster of the local school, struggled to keep the household together and his mother, brain-damaged from an accident, drifted in a world of her own. Edward's native intelligence, coupled with a longing to experience the excitement and intellectual fervour of the city, had taken him to University College in London. Falling in love with the accomplished, shy and sensitive Florence - and having his affections returned with equal intensity - has utterly changed his life. Their marriage, they believe, will bring them happiness, the confidence and the freedom to fulfill their true destinies. The glowing promise of the future, however, cannot totally mask their worries about the wedding night. Edward, who has had little experience with women, frets about his sexual prowess. Florence's anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by conflicting emotions and a fear of the moment she will surrender herself. From the precise and intimate depiction of two young lovers eager to rise above the hurts and confusion of the past, to the touching story of how their unexpressed misunderstandings and fearsshape the rest of their lives, On Chesil Beach is an extraordinary novel that brilliantly, movingly shows us 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.
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