Friday, May 25, 2012

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

I picked up On Chesil Beach after Staci's review. I've avoided McEwan since I've heard he was difficult, unaccessible and his books were depressing. Actually that was just about Atonement. I avoided On Chesil Beach since it was the same author. But Staci made me think twice about avoiding On Chesil Beach and I'm really glad she encouraged me to give it a try.
On Chesil Beach opens with Florence and Edward starting their honeymoon. Both of them are anxious about their wedding night and sex. Florence and Edward are each dealing with crushing anxieties about sex. But they sit there, silently in anguish about having sex for the first time. I kind of wanted to smack both of them. I get that they were from a time period where sex wasn't discussed and Florence had to turn to books to learn about how to be a wife. But they were missing the most important part of any relationship-communication. If one of them had expressed their feelings, the book would have had a different and, in my opinion, more satisfying ending.
But McEwan's writing was so beautiful. I loved how everything was described so precisely. I could see the shingles on the beach. I could hear the birds singing. The writing made Florence and Edward's awkwardness more bearable.
Overall I enjoyed On Chesil Beach. If you enjoy period pieces about marriage like Revolutionary Road then you'd enjoy On Chesil Beach. Others who shared their thoughts about On Chesil Beach: Life In The Thumb, Musings, Lakeside Musing, Life is (not) Beautiful With (out) Books, and Blogging For A Good Book.


  1. Maybe..I would like to try more by him though. The one I read was good

  2. On Chesil Beach was one of my favorites last year and I'm glad you enjoyed it, too! There are two more McEwan novels on my shelf that I hope to get to soon. I also loved Revolutionary Road.

  3. So glad that you enjoyed this one. I came into it with the same trepidation that you had and was pleasantly surprised. You were spot on in regards to their lack of communication skills. One word could have changed the entire direction of their lives!


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