I read another McEwan’s book a while ago, Atonement, and didn’t quite like it, despite all the high praises. I really so wanted to like his books. I just couldn’t believe that I didn’t. I thought his types of books were just the ones that I would like. I still couldn’t let it go for a while, so I started On Chesil Beach.
I was so glad to find that I enjoyed it.
On Chesil Beach tells a story about a newly married couple, young, virgin, extremely shy and awkward. Setting is in old Europe 1960s, the time when talks about sex were far and few.
I thought only a genius could write a novel on a few hours of a wedding night and be nominated for Booker Prize (2007). And genius he is. There’s just something about McEwan’s use of words and language. Like people say, he’s a master of English. It’s just great. The words he uses to explain all things that we often can’t put into words. (Well as you can see, I’m definitely not a master of English.)
[spoiler]I read around forums to see what other people think of it. People mentioned about possibility of Flo being abused by her father, which caused her to be so frigid and revolted at sex. There are several hints in the book, which I have to half-heartedly agree. I probably subconsciously tried to ignore them at first, because it disappointed me a bit. I thought Flo’s character would be more interesting without the abuse (which would make things make sense in a too easy way).[/spoiler]
Love the ending. Sad. But poignant.
Rating: 4 out of 5
terrible » poor » mediocre » okay » good » very good » excellent » superb
A short, full of impact novel, written by a literary genius. His books still contain the longest sentences I’ve ever found in books.
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.
Instead, he stood in cold and righteous silence in the summer’s dusk, watching her hurry along the shore, the sound of her difficult progress lost to the breaking of small waves, until she was blurred, receding point against the immense straight road of shingle gleaming in the pallid light.
“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.” ~ p6
“He was discovering that being in love was not a steady state, but a matter of fresh surges or waves, and he was experiencing one now.” ~ p125
“This is how the entire course of a life can be changed – by doing nothing.” ~ p166