Customer Reviews for

On Chesil Beach

Average Rating 3.5
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(10)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Sun, sea and melancholy

The book itself is rather small in stature but when the story started my attention was instantly saturated with powerful intensity for it. I found this novel to be quite extraordinary and read it in one sitting - right after having oysters for brunch; I left ready and p...
The book itself is rather small in stature but when the story started my attention was instantly saturated with powerful intensity for it. I found this novel to be quite extraordinary and read it in one sitting - right after having oysters for brunch; I left ready and pounced on it ferociously and enjoyed it until dusk arrived. This was my first time reading McEwan and I found his language, ideas and wording very easy to slip into. Some authors requite an adjustment, sometimes it feels like a change of latitude and climate, even gravity but not with Ian, it's hard for me to imagine anyone who's not curios about life that would not enjoy this.

It's a brief novel set in the 1960's, all I knew about it before I read it was that I spotted it on the New York Times Saturday Book Review ( my favorite) bestsellers section and the simple mention of a wedding night going horribly wrong hooked me. This indeed was a mess slowly unraveling, making me read on nervously knowing that something ugly is about to perspire. The story starts of gently enough but pretty soon the reader gets a real glimpse of Florence, the young bride, and her revulsion of all things having to do with the secrets of the flesh. Even before she married Edward her love for him was warm and pleasant, almost maternal but a few hours after the wedding during their supper, being able to see the freshly made bed in the next room of their honeymoon suite was making her nauseous and fearful of disappointing her new husband with her true feelings concerning the dreaded wedding night.

The acting between Florence and Edward that takes place, the restrained talk and emotions when Edward can barely stand not pouncing on his bride while eating, the dance like charade skillfully played by almost petrified Florence and the glimpses back on how they met set up a heck of a story, the reader knows that things are about to go badly for both of them. Either the bride goes with the flow and makes the best of her situation or she offends Edward and shows him her true feelings. The energy generated by minimal dialogue, sensitive writing and skillful psychology made for an incredibly alluring and mesmerizing book. This isn't only about committing the act, it was more about human errs and not being true and honest with one self, trying to act according to the times and not engaging in close contact with your partner, not understanding who he is until marriage. One can easily see how this type of a scenario can make for hair rising fiction (even scarier, it was probably true back then).

Living in different times makes it easy for me to judge, through out the book I kept thinking "I would never do that" or " I can't even imagine feeling like this woman" but I still connected with her, feeling sorry for her and being angry at her at the same time. This is a treat not to be missed, skillfully written and well told, a story that truly feeds the soul.

- Kasia S.

posted by Kasia_S on October 28, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Horrid

Bad no point oh wait there was it was sex :p i mean that by gross

posted by Anonymous on July 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2007

    Short and disappointing

    I picked up this book thinking that it was going to be a good read, but nothing could have been further from the truth. The story began with an interesting idea, but the characters were poorly developed and Mr. McEwan did little to make you care about them. I found none of the characters in the book particularly attractive. He attempted to make a case of poor parenting skills by Florence and Edwards' parents and that this was partially responsible for their disastrous wedding night, but it could have been explored more thoroughly as an underlying cause. Without this, I found no reason to sympathize with the characters and found them rather uninteresting and hard to keep reading about them. The best thing about the book is its length...short but not so sweet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    subpar at best

    mcewan, perhaps the finest lyrical writer alive today, has let me down with this effort. his prose is dazzling, yes, but that is about all this book has to offer. the characters are too simple, the actual event at the climax (no pun intended) of the book is actually anti-climactic, and nothing resonates or lasts. perhaps the book itself is a metaphor for the act within the book?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2010

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    Posted February 14, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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