On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach

Book - 2007
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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.

Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2007.
ISBN: 9780385522403
Branch Call Number: FICTION McEwan Ian
Characteristics: 203 p. ;,19 cm.


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Nov 10, 2017

oh my: you'll remember what you wasted; it may have slipped asunder but always relish the spirit

multcolib_susannel Mar 22, 2016

Intense story of two private people who struggle to become intimate.

Feb 09, 2016

This very short (200 pages) story covers two hours of the wedding night of Florence and Edward. They are in their early twenties and both very inexperienced. It is 1962 but they both seem to be products of the very prim prudish Victorian era. Each has no experience, and very little information to draw upon when confronted with the actual marriage bed. McEwan did a wonderful job of setting the mood - fear, anxiety, anticipation, bewilderment, caution, love, caring - and I kept hoping for more than I got. I got involved and felt it a stretch that there could be characters like these two in the 1960's. I would have happily knocked their heads together. Another example of a terrible inability to communicate.

Apr 10, 2015

This is no beach read. On Chesil Beach is a troubling distillation of how two intelligent, thoughtful, well-people meaning can get it wrong. Despite loving each other, Florence and Edward can’t reconcile themselves to a life together for one reason: sex, and their inability to talk about it. I loved this book because I could relate closely to both characters, with a little enjoyable distance provided by the setting of Britain in the early 60‘s, and ethos and expectations of the era that frayed their connection beyond mending. I was shocked, relieved, and saddened by the unexpected climax and denouement . This is the first McEwan I’ve read, and I don’t feel that I have a real sense for him as a writer, mostly because I forgot all about him. Florence and Edward were real people, living their untidy lives on the page.

WVMLStaffPicks Feb 01, 2015

In 1962, a young English couple book into the inn at Chesil Beach. As the tragedy of their wedding night plays out, the reader witnesses their past and future.

Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 04, 2014

A fascinating little study of British social mores of the early 60s and the destructive power of sexual repression.

Dec 01, 2014

I was prompted to read this book because it was on the reading list for my book group. I didn't like it when I started reading, but the tight, emotionally charged narrative soon captivated me. By the time I finished, I was in awe that McEwan packed so much emotional depth into just 200 pages. The story is sad, but poignant. This short book packs a lot of character development and emotional power.

Nov 20, 2014

oh this is a sad little book. a great in-depth portrayal of how little 2 people in love can understand each other. communication is key people!

Jul 15, 2013

read it the first time about 8 years ago. always stuck with me. read it again recently. better the first time. british. typical mcewan. excellent.

May 16, 2013

I read a lot...really a lot. If a book doesn't hook me within the first 30 pages, I put it aside. This book's first sentence hooked me and I couldn't put it down until I read, with a broken heart, the very last sentence. Few stories stay with me beyong a week or two but I know I'll remember Florence and Edward for a long time. This is the first Ian McEwan novel I have ever read (I didn't finish "Atonement") all the way through and I now want to read more of his work. And I think I'll give "Atonement" another try. "On Chesil Beach" is simply wonderful.

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Jun 16, 2011

Iridollae thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Mar 12, 2008

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Nov 09, 2007

pod thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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Mar 12, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.


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