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On Chesil Beach (2007)

by Ian McEwan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,780350835 (3.6)515
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 515 mentions

English (312)  Dutch (10)  French (6)  Italian (6)  German (5)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (351)
Showing 1-5 of 312 (next | show all)
ffs. what a load of crap.

really easy to read, but gives you nothing. Dull, pretentious, bland, unmemorable.

1* - will approach McEwan with great trepidation in future. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
This was surprisingly good and I read it in one sitting. I think that helped my enjoyment of the story; it revolved around one evening and I was able to process the entire scene and mess of emotions. McEwan is a fantastic writer and made me care about the main characters in relatively few pages. This is definitely a quiet book and a character study, but so well-written that I was perfectly happy with little action.
( )
  JustZelma | Dec 20, 2020 |
It's an exquisitely painful tragedy propelled to its destructive conclusion by a highly justifiable sense of indignation and betrayal, a view found to be tragically short sighted in hindsight. ( )
  Misprint | Aug 31, 2020 |
When deciding what to read next I looked at several reviews for a few of the books that I own and have on my to read list. Since I enjoyed Nutshell so much and had one more unread McEwan book decided to checked out the reviews for On Chesil Beach. Am I glad I did otherwise might have missed two very great works my Ian McEwan in quick succession. Tasty morsels of literature have to be enjoyed whenever possible!

As much as I enjoyed Nutshell found this even more a pleasure to read. At first it was a little draggy but have found with McEwan that he uses his mastery of words to create the mood his characters are experiencing. Once into the story found myself trapped as I experienced the feelings and uncertainties challenging the newlyweds. McEwan's writing is absolute superb in creating a feeling any of us would understand finding ourselves in a similar situation. Beyond just the uncertainties are the reflections on the lives that created and transformed them to the individuals they are at this critical juncture. Feelings and nuances flash through their thoughts that make us wonder about what truly are the underlying influences within their lives that brought these individuals to the point of being challenged by the consummation of their relationship. To wit, I found the conclusion surprising and introspective but so tied into the past that one feels that these are people any of us could know.

This is a beautifully written and artfully created journey only a writer like Ian McEwan would be able to give us to enjoy. ( )
  can44okie | Aug 28, 2020 |
This is less of a story about one life-changing moment and more about the moments that build up to it: how a pattern develops in a relationship that makes it impossible to overcome the worst. It was occasionally painful to dwell on.

Really good writing.

Quotable: "This is how the entire course of a life can be changed--by doing nothing." ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 312 (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.
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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Happy newlyweds
can not communicate fear:
Unhappy ending.

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