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On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
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On Chesil Beach (2007)

by Ian McEwan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,531338807 (3.61)507
The story centers around two newlyweds, Edward and Florence Mayhew both virgins who must struggle through their internal battles with sexual anxiety.
  1. 10
    The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These brief, intricately plotted novels are reflective, character-driven stories that examine a pivotal event from different perspectives. In a complex narrative that shifts between past and present, individuals who grew up in 1960s England discover that memory can be unreliable.… (more)
  2. 10
    The Sea by John Banville (kiwiflowa)
    kiwiflowa: same introspective feel and prose etc
  3. 00
    Mr. Phillips by John Lanchester (lizchris)
    lizchris: Similar stream of consciousness style
  4. 00
    The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates (KayCliff)
  5. 11
    Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler (haraldo)
    haraldo: Both stories are about sexuality and marriage.
  6. 00
    Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift (amanda4242)
  7. 22
    The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene (akfarrar)
    akfarrar: Another serious book with marriage at the heart of it and the tug of war between being an individual and uniting with an 'other'. Both deal with a generation of people on the edge of change and with matters both earthly and spiritual.
  8. 01
    Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: On Chesil Beach and Eleven Minutes are psychological explorations of how sexuality and love affect who one is, how they view themselves, and how they interact with others.
  9. 15
    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (whitewavedarling)
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» See also 507 mentions

English (300)  Dutch (10)  Italian (6)  French (5)  German (5)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (338)
Showing 1-5 of 300 (next | show all)
1962 Florence and Edward celebrate their wedding in a hotel on the Dorset coast. The expectation of their marital duties weighs over them. This is story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word spoken. A heartbreaking story which could have turned around if Edward would have showed a bit of love and patience instead of giving up on her. A bit disappointing! I did love the ending however! ( )
  EadieB | May 18, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this book. It is a very powerful story about a couple through courtship and to their wedding. All the way through you understand the feelings that the couple are going through, the nerves, the fear and anticipation. All of this overlayed with the customs and social pressures of the day.

I thought that the ending was weak, it should have finished with the scene on Chesil Beach. I feel that would have made the story much more powerful. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Quanto odio questi imbarazzanti bellissimi romanzi. ( )
  gi0rgi0 | Mar 25, 2020 |
I read this after I read Atonement years ago, and so began my slow and gradual appreciation for literary fiction.

Not a lot happens in this book. It focusses on a couple who are on their honeymoon on a beach. If you like plot-driven novels, this is not the novel for you. It is a quiet, slow, character-driven novel but I enjoyed how McEwan was able to milk so much tension and angst out of such tiny, minuscule moments.

To be honest, I don't remember much more than that apart from the mood, which means that the book hasn't stayed with me. But I did like reading it and I feel like it was one of the books that really signalled a change in my reading tastes. ( )
  lydia1879 | Feb 1, 2020 |
Depressing as hell. ( )
  JWhitsitt | Aug 25, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 300 (next | show all)
On Chesil Beach is brief and carefully plotted, the writing is measured, the tone of voice is forgiving and nostalgic. In other words, it is a fine example of emotion recollected in tranquillity. Even so, I couldn't help regretting the fun McEwan might have had with these sad fumbling innocents when he was younger, less mellow, and a great deal less forbearing.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Al Alvarez (pay site) (Jul 19, 2007)
 
After two big, ambitious novels — “Atonement” and “Saturday” — Ian McEwan has inexplicably produced a small, sullen, unsatisfying story that possesses none of those earlier books’ emotional wisdom, narrative scope or lovely specificity of detail.
 
Sans fard, Ian McEwan décrit cette jeunesse encore prisonnière de ses convenances, méconnaissant tout des relations sexuelles et de la vie de couple, mariés seulement après quelques flirts pudiques. Cette première nuit d'intimité détermine leur vie entière, leur engagement alors définitif.
 

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian McEwanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Basso, SusannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torrescasana, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verhoef, RienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Annalena
First words
They were young, uneducated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy.
Quotations
This was still the era - it would end later in that famous decade - when to be young was a social encumbrance, a mark of irrelevance, a faintly embarrassing condition for which marriage was the beginning of a cure.
There was no one she could have talked to. Ruth, her sister, was too young, and her mother, perfectly wonderful in her way, was too intellectual, too brittle, an old-fashioned bluestocking. Whenever she confronted an intimate problem, she tended to adopt the public manner of the lecture hall, and use longer and longer words, and make references to books she thought everyone should have read.
Britain, England, was a minor power - saying this gave a certain blasphemous pleasure. Downstairs, of course, they took a different view. Anyone over forty would have fought, or suffered, in the war and known death on an unusual scale, and would not have been able to believe that a drift into irrelevance was the reward for all the sacrifice.
The term dissolved intimacy, it coolly measured his mother by a public standard that everyone could understand.
It pained him tremendously that their wedding night was not simple, when their love was so obvious.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
A Good Read (BBC Radio 4). Note: the "Video recordings" combined here appear in fact to be unabridged audiobooks, some showing ISBN 0739343718, and not the film adaptation by Dominic Cooke, On Chesil Beach.
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Haiku summary
Happy newlyweds
can not communicate fear:
Unhappy ending.
(ElBarto)

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