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85 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive and sad
This short book is a sensitive exploration of the consequences of thoughts not spoken and actions that are misunderstood. The fears and uncertainties at the centre of the novella might seem incomprehensible to younger readers, although deep down they may be as prevalent today as they were in the '50s and '60s.

As with all good short stories, the book is a...
Published on 17 Mar 2008 by Suzie

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would have made a good short story
On Chesil Beach is the first Ian McEwan book I've read. In it he describes a newly married couple's relationship and their struggle to culminate their wedding vows. McEwan maps their relationship up to their marriage: how their intimacy evolved, how they came to love each other, how personal taboos result in their inevitable repulsion.

Mostly, McEwan's prose...
Published on 27 Mar 2009 by Mr. S. D. Halliday


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Talented Wordcrafter Describes an Improbable Honeymoon, 6 July 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
If you are easily seduced by beautiful sentences, you'll feel On Chesil Beach is a five-star book. If you love exploring inner dialogue, you'll be even more pleased with this book.

If, however, you like your stories to be compelling because of their relevance and interest to your own life, you'll wonder why in the world Mr. McEwan chose to write about this particular problem of poor communications in the context of 1962. As you delve deeper into the book, you'll be even more puzzled by the book's pivotal event and the characters' reactions to it.

The short book (neither novella nor full novel) is organized in five parts that seem much like the acts in a Greek tragedy. The opening scene shows a couple dining in their room at an inn. "They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible." The second act describes how they met. The third act takes place in their bedroom in the inn. The fourth act describes their courtship. The fifth act takes place on the beach and in their lives afterward as they attempt and fail to communicate.

Mr. McEwan does a good job of capturing your attention through exploring the couple's growing tension as they move toward the consummation of their marriage. But past that point, the story seemed like a punctured balloon to me: My interest was gone. I suspect that reaction is because I didn't feel close to either character; they are more there to entertain me than to lead me into experiencing the story like the characters do.

Clearly, the story would have worked much better for me if focused around a more universal trial in marriage, such as handling both sets of parents during the birth of a first child. I also thought that Mr. McEwen played the role of the Greek chorus too often . . . telling us what was going on rather than letting us see and hear the action. The fourth part seems clearly out of place; it should have preceded the third part.

Unless you are drawn to beautiful sentences and images, I suggest you skip this book . . . it's a misdirected storytelling foray by a talented writer that is eminently avoidable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse of a bygone age, 18 Jan 2013
This review is from: On Chesil Beach (Kindle Edition)
I adored this book. I read it maybe five years ago so I can't write about it in any detail other than to say it was wonderful - a glimpse of a bygone age, with beautiful characterisation which shows the effect of innocence and repression not so far removed from my youth that I can't identify with the agonies this couple shared. A measured, deep, intense love story that was very moving.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My First, 13 Jan 2013
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This review is from: On Chesil Beach (Paperback)
This is the first book I read by this author and I loved it, It is a reminder that you must always discuss all issues with your loved one, if they really are your loved one, discuss your expectations , fears, loves or risk losing them and facing the consequences of losing that one real love
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Zzzzzzzz.............., 7 Sep 2012
This review is from: On Chesil Beach (Paperback)
Ian McEwan, born in 1948, is an English novelist and a devout atheist. He has a big reputation, and counts the Booker Prize - won for "Amsterdam" in 1998 - amongst his awards. "On Chesil Beach" was shortlisted for the 2007 Booker but, despite being the raging hot favourite, lost out to "The Gathering" by Anne Enright.

The book opens in July 1962, on the evening of Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting's wedding. Having married that afternoon in Oxford - and, obviously, not wanting to hang about - they've travelled down the Dorset coast to begin their honeymoon. Sitting having dinner, they're both very nervous about their first night together. (Being 1962, they're still virgins). Although Edward's largely looking forward to it, he's nervous about being a little premature. Florence, on the other hand, is absolutely dreading it - although she does love Edward, the thought of having sex leaves her panic-stricken and feeling sick. As their wedding night moves forward, and with disaster apparently looming, their separate lives and the history of their relationship is told in flashback.

Short, with some nice passages - but some of the fawning reviews I've read are a bigger work of fiction that the book itself. It's full of wasted opportunities - I couldn't help thinking McEwan had simply focused on the wrong section of his characters' lives. Edward's mother, Florence's relationship with her father, their lives after the wedding day - there was so much that, properly developed, could have improved the book no end. Florence and Edward themselves were very poorly developed, and were little more than cliches at times. In spite of what the blurb claims, it's not wonderful, exquisite or devastating : it's a very ordinary book, is well short of amazing and it left me with the impression that McEwan was just going through the motions. 2007 must've been a thin year if this got nominated for the Booker.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great beginning, garbled ending, 23 July 2010
This review is from: On Chesil Beach (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story of Florence and Edwards' childhoods and courtship. I grew to like both characters, but could not identify them with the robots in that hotel room on their honeymoon night.
I'm happy/ fascinated to read about sex if it's well written and in context but I found that I actually turned away from the book a couple of times when it got really graphic as it just felt uncomfortable and voyeuristic, like walking in on your two close friends naked or something. It felt totally out of keeping with the restrained tone elsewhere.
I felt the tension rise as the action finally led on to the beach, but the subsequent chapter was so rushed and garbled that it made a mockery of all that had gone before, summing up an entire life in a few pages.
The timeline at this point ceased to make sense, and at one point it seemed that the author was telling us about a business being ruined by internet shopping in 1983.
This, along with the disappointing length of the book (ie it's basically a short story) made me feel fairly unsatisfied by the end, despite my earlier interest in the two well drawn characters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My first Ian McEwan, 5 May 2008
By 
Jeni (Buckinghamshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: On Chesil Beach (Paperback)
What an interesting read! As many of the reviews have said before, McEwan has handled this sensitive situation with a fantastic amount of understanding from both parties of the main characters points of view. A beautiful piece of writing but also an opportunity to relate this to our lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitively written, beautiful., 10 April 2008
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This review is from: On Chesil Beach (Hardcover)
I found the depiction of the relationship between the two main characters Edward and Florence and McEwan's observation of their interaction beautifully observed. This is what made the book riveting. This story of an ill-fated honeymoon starts by filling us with hope which is gradually overtaken by a growing sense of apprehension as some of the differences in their backgrounds and characteristics begin to seem irreconcilable.

The ending is sad, and left me feeling a little dissatisfied but I think this is what was intended. The book is characterised by dashed hopes and a sense of disappointment and anticlimax. The reader simply becomes involved in this because there are no real answers at the end. I finished reading it in one evening and I really wish it had been longer. But in a way I'm also glad it wasn't.

I absolutely adored McEwan's Enduring Love, as well, I would highly recommend thisand I think that one of his main strengths as a writer is his sensitivity in adding detail and the poignancy he can evoke.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LOVED THIS BOOK AND IT'S MESSAGE, 25 Mar 2008
By 
Mrs. M. T. Hayward "Marie" (Romania) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: On Chesil Beach (Paperback)
I loved this book and didn't expect any more or any less from it. I took it for what it was, which is the account of one tragic day. Beautifully written, this book should be given to all those people who on the verge of a break-up, just to make them think ... is this what I really want? It teaches couples to share your feelings with each other or else risk losing something so important... I think that's the really crucial message from this book. How many broken hearts could be avoided if we did that?? Am I being soft....?? That's Mr McEwan for you!

On one final note, I praise the author on his handling of the female point of view. Many times I have read a book and known it was written by a man... not in this case, beautifully done!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad and Sensitive, 17 July 2008
This review is from: On Chesil Beach (Hardcover)
A very sad and sensitively written story, a young woman's innocence and naivety was to change the course of a couple's life irretrievably; when all it had needed was a little reassurance from her lover.

Edward and Florence young well educated and both virgins when they married are the protagonists of this emotional novel. It is the early sixties and they were both very much products of the era with all the inhibitions of that time. The swinging sixties had yet to arrive, had it been just a few years later this episode in their lives may have caused life to turn out very out very differently for them.
Younger readers may find it difficult to empathise with the characters as life in the C21st is rather different.

With Chesil Beach Ian McEwan has shown us once again what a talented writer he is. Hardly a novel at 166 pages but not disappointing in that to write more would certainly have spoilt the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 13 July 2008
This review is from: On Chesil Beach (Paperback)
Having read 'On Chesil Beach' & really enjoyed it I thought I would post a review. Before doing so I read the reviews here already & I am fascinated by the expectations & opinions of some reviewers.

I believe this is not a book about an era but about the emotional baggage that two people can bring to a situation where that baggage is no longer avoidable. Something has to give & it will either be a happy or sad ending.

In addition, as always, we reviewers seem to want to compare the authors new book to their previous ones which is unfair. Do we really want our favourite authors to stick with a formula that works or experiment with new ideas?

If this book was written by a new author I think the comparison reviewers would be saying something else.

The book is very good - end of!
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On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
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