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Aan Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
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Aan Chesil Beach (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Ian McEwan, Rien Verhoef

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,165328768 (3.61)484
Member:Philippe_Nollet
Title:Aan Chesil Beach
Authors:Ian McEwan
Other authors:Rien Verhoef
Info:Amsterdam De Harmonie 2007
Collections:Your library, Literatuur, ebooks
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (2007)

Recently added byLauraCW, afgriffin91, private library, dh6934, MOCALondon, jharding, SulfurDog, Vulco1, laneyjohn, pjferg888
  1. 10
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    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)
  4. 00
    Mr. Phillips by John Lanchester (lizchris)
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  5. 11
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  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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» See also 484 mentions

English (291)  Dutch (10)  Italian (6)  French (5)  German (4)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (328)
Showing 1-5 of 291 (next | show all)
In July 1962, Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting, a classically-trained violinist and from a wealthy family marry and have traveled to Chesil Beach for their honeymoon. Edward, a graduate student of history, has been offered a position in his father-in-law's business. Their future appears bright. However, a wedding night incident endangers their future as a married couple.

Much of this novel/novella is told through Edward's and Florence's back story, e.g. lives before meeting, their encounter, and dating, reflections of the two in the hotel room. McEwan described Edward's stream of consciousness that I could easily picture myself in Edward's shoes. Although I enjoyed this book less than others I have read by him, I still found it to be a poignant read. ( )
  John_Warner | Jun 19, 2018 |
McEwan's writing is such a treat. When I read him I feel like I am reading great quality fiction but it also feels effortless. This book flies by at just over 200 pages and reads like an intense study of two people. I heard there is going to be a movie of this soon and honestly, I just can't imagine (other than the fabulous setting) what that could possible be like on the big screen. There is so much here that makes this novel what it is that is interior to the characters, i just can't imagine how that would translated to the screen. The subject is not light - its definitely has a gloomy cast to it, but it is a fine tightly written piece. ( )
  alanna1122 | Jun 13, 2018 |
A small and heartbreaking book, On Chesil Beach tells the story of two virgins on their wedding night. Carrying guilt, inexperience, and anxiety, Florence and Edward love one another, but it may not be enought to get them through the weight of the lives they have led.

For a full review and more books check me out at:
www.bibliographyofasuburbanmom.com ( )
  SubrbnMom | May 27, 2018 |
A beautifully written introspective short novel. Set in the early 1960s, Florence and Edward are a newly married young couple on their honeymoon. The reader gets a glimpse into the different thoughts, apprehensions and experiences of this couple and how their relationship is "expected" to mature now that they're married - so, sex. This is the first book by Ian McEwan I've read (with Sweet Tooth and Atonement on my to-read list) and I found his writing to be beautiful and descriptive with very little dialogue, which I didn't mind. The characters are not super developed but enough so that there is depth and complexity. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys brief, but meaningful (and maybe a bit heartbreaking) stories. Not everything gets wrapped up in a happy ending. ( )
  mandarella | May 22, 2018 |
Grande scrittore. Avrei voluto non finisse mai e, allo stesso tempo, non averlo mai neanche preso in mano, questo libro che ti tocca così nel profondo. Straordinario. ( )
  Eva_Filoramo | May 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 291 (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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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A Good Read (BBC Radio 4).
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Haiku summary
Happy newlyweds
can not communicate fear:
Unhappy ending.
(ElBarto)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385522401, Hardcover)

Such is Ian McEwan's genius that, despite rambling nature walks and the naming of birds, his subject matter remains hermetically sealed in the hearts of two people.

It is 1962 when Edward and Florence, 23 and 22 respectively, marry and repair to a hotel on the Dorset coast for their honeymoon. They are both virgins, both apprehensive about what's next and in Florence's case, utterly and blindly terrified and repelled by the little she knows. Through a tense dinner in their room, because Florence has decided that the weather is not fine enough to dine on the terrace, they are attended by two local boys acting as waiters. The cameo appearances of the boys and Edward and Florence's parents and siblings serve only to underline the emotional isolation of the two principals. Florence says of herself: "...she lacked some simple mental trick that everyone else had, a mechanism so ordinary that no one ever mentioned it, an immediate sensual connection to people and events, and to her own needs and desires...."

They are on the cusp of a rather ordinary marital undertaking in differing states of readiness, willingness and ardor. McEwan says: "Where he merely suffered conventional first-night nerves, she experienced a visceral dread, a helpless disgust as palpable as seasickness." Edward, having denied himself even the release of self-pleasuring for a week, in order to be tip-top for Florence, is mentally pawing the ground. His sensitivity keeps him from being obvious, but he is getting anxious. Florence, on the other hand, knows that she is not capable of the kind of arousal that will make any of this easy. She has held Edward off for a year, and now the reckoning is upon her.

McEwan is the master of the defining moment, that place and time when, once it has taken place, nothing will ever be the same after it. It does not go well and Florence flees the room. "As she understood it, there were no words to name what had happened, there existed no shared language in which two sane adults could describe such events to each other." Edward eventually follows her and they have a poignant and painful conversation where accusations are made, ugly things are said and roads are taken from which, in the case of these two, the way back cannot be found. Late in Edward's life he realizes: "Love and patience--if only he had them both at once--would surely have seen them both through." This beautifully told sad story could have been conceived and written only by Ian McEwan. --Valerie Ryan

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:01 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The story centers around two newlyweds, Edward and Florence Mayhew, both virgins, who must struggle through their internal battles with sexual anxiety.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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