On Chesil Beach: A Novel

by Ian McEwan | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9780385522403 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HoserLauren of Burlington, Ontario Canada on 11/18/2007
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Sunday, November 18, 2007
Received this for my birthday!!

From Amazon:
Not quite novel or novella, McEwan's masterful 13th work of fiction most resembles a five-part classical drama rendered in prose. It opens on the anxious Dorset Coast wedding suite dinner of Edward Mayhew and the former Florence Ponting, married in the summer of 1963 at 23 and 22 respectively; the looming dramatic crisis is the marriage's impending consummation, or lack of it. Edward is a rough-hewn but sweet student of history, son of an Oxfordshire primary school headmaster and a mother who was brain damaged in an accident when Edward was five. Florence, daughter of a businessman and (a rarity then) a female Oxford philosophy professor, is intense but warm and has founded a string quartet. Their fears about sex and their inability to discuss them form the story's center. At the book's midpoint, McEwan (Atonement, etc.) goes into forensic detail about their naïve and disastrous efforts on the marriage bed, and the final chapter presents the couple's explosive postcoital confrontation on Chesil Beach. Staying very close to this marital trauma and the circumstances surrounding it (particularly class), McEwan's flawless omniscient narration has a curious (and not unpleasantly condescending) fable-like quality, as if an older self were simultaneously disavowing and affirming a younger.

Journal Entry 2 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Friday, January 25, 2008
Florence and Edward a newly weds in 1962. They arrive at a hotel on Chesil Beach hours after their wedding ceremony and take dinner in the honeymoon suite with the expectation, fear, and excitement of what is to come after dinner. Both virgins, their outlook on sex is very different. Edward is eager and excited, but fearful of screwing up. Florence, however, is filled with dread and repulsion. She is disgusted by physical contact. The story takes us through their wedding night, where emotions run high, but also tells us of how the characters meet.

I was amazed at what a page turner this little book of 200 pages was. McEwan writes the emotions of the characters so well that you want to know what is going to happen to the relationship between the newlyweds. Both characters are flawed, neither is right. I found this book quite unique from what I'm used to reading.

I don't really get moved by written word in fictional novels but this sentence really spoke to me: "This is how the entire course of a life can be changed - by doing nothing." I'm a strong believer that you make your own luck, and doesn't this say the same thing! If you do nothing, you end up no where.

This book should be a lesson not to let your pride get in the way of love.

Journal Entry 3 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Saturday, January 26, 2008
This book is with me now

Journal Entry 4 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Thursday, January 31, 2008
This is a novel about emotions. It opens with a newly married couple, Florence and Edward eating dinner in their bridal suite. Both are apprehensive about what is to come. Edward for screwing up and not controlling himself and Florence for suppressing the disgust she feels. This is the era before the sexual revolution when such things are just not discussed.

McEwan is able to write beautiful prose depicting with intensity how each of them feels. The story of how they each got to this point is told. What is missing is why Florence feels disgust the way she does.

"By doing nothing" was a real moving statement that we all can take to heart. This story is about what happens when two people do not communicate. Anger and disappointment get in the way of love.

The other thing I came to realize was how differently men 'love'. Women love an all-encompassing love and men love from deep within.

Journal Entry 5 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Sunday, February 10, 2008
Passing this off to Irenic to give to Chronic today!

Journal Entry 6 by chronicbooker3 from Hamilton, Ontario Canada on Friday, February 15, 2008
Thanks Hoser

Journal Entry 7 by chronicbooker3 from Hamilton, Ontario Canada on Monday, February 25, 2008
This quick read was definately not my cup of tea. I have tried in the past to read Ian McEwan and never managed to finish one of his books. That being said, I did mange to trudge my way to the finish line with this one - though barely.

My mom always told me that if I had nothing nice to say to say nothing at all. This is going to be one of those times that I follow her advice. Isnt it nice to know that we all have our own opinions and thankfully (for Mr. McEwan) mine is but one on the reading highway

Journal Entry 8 by chronicbooker3 from Hamilton, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, April 02, 2008
In the mail to a bookcrosser from Kentucky. Hope you enjoy this.

Journal Entry 9 by joeprice from Louisville, Kentucky USA on Sunday, April 13, 2008
Rec'd by post from chronicbooker3. Thank you!

Released 10 yrs ago (4/20/2009 UTC) at Galen College of Nursing (Zorn Ave, Breakroom) in Louisville, Kentucky USA



I requested this book on behalf of my son, who was on an Ian McEwan jag following the release of the film version of McEwan's novel Atonement. I think On Chesil Beach was not what my son expected, though he likely found it titillating. He's an extremely young adult, and -- although the protagonists of this story are young themselves -- the events are described with a tone of wisdom, and perhaps regret, that characterizes someone much older.

Here's wishing a good reading experience to the next person who finds the book.

Joe Price
Louisville, Kentucky

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