BN.com Gift Guide
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)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

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

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 6 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

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 12 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2007

    Is It Innocence or Ignorance?

    In this book McEwan takes us into the conflict that two virgins face on their wedding night. They are innocent or ignorant depending on your point of view about sexual matters. They want to reach out to each other but their early 60s morality stands in their way of expressing their love. Of course, they do love one another. Their problem lies in expressing it. The events happen within the span of one day with liberal use of flashbacks a style used by McEwan in other books. This book can easily be read in one-sitting and so the flow can remain unbroken.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Stripped of all pretense, these characters are pushed to surrender to what they know is true.

    McEwan is known for exquisite prose and On Chesil Beach is no exception. As the newlyweds dine and anticipate the consummation of their marriage, it's clear to the reader that all is not right in the world of Florence and Edward. Love is most certainly present, yet there is a delicate balance between Edward and Flo that tips precariously as the meal progresses and before you know it, dread has made its appearance. As the tension rises, and the moment of consummation nears, we are told in flashbacks how the couple came to be. In part, this knowledge of the couple makes their situation even more tragic. When you ask someone to marry you, you assume that you know everything about them, but this is not the case with Edward and Flo. Insecurities exist that neither are aware of until it's too late. I love McEwan's writing for a lot of reasons, but what I love the most is the level of detail within his stories. He puts you there, with the characters as they are experiencing their awkward moment and although it's uncomfortable, it's impossible to look away. I tend to lose myself when I read his writing and that to me, is the sign of a good novel. That, and the fact that his characters are often forced to deal with truth and the tragic consequences of their actions. I've read a few of McEwan's other novels and although this one is incredibly short, it still manages to be a very powerful read with characters that you can easily relate to.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2010

    Great Book Club Discussion

    We read this book for our book club. The women in our book club range in age from 28-65. This book, even though it is not a literary masterpiece, provided us with some of the most lively discussion we have had in the past five years. The multiple age groups provided our discussion with many different perceptions and perspectives over the events leading up to, during and after the wedding night.

    I would strongly recommend this book for a multigenerational discussion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2007

    Wow...

    I didn't realize it until the book was over how emotional reading this novel had made me. I was reading about people, then all of a sudden, I was right there with this couple I knew so much about and feeling the same feelings they were going through. I felt the characters love for one another, their young, misunderstood anger and, at the end, the regret...the 'what ifs'. I remember getting to the anger part of the story and telling my wife how evil this author is and how he is mangling this pure love. At the end, I thought the author was intellegent and had captured life so well. This novel is a moment in a life that is so beautiful, yet tragic. This novel leaves you moved and reminds you that life is a short game and to play it wisely. Thank you, Ian, for such a great novel...and dare say another classic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 22, 2014

    I read this after Atonement, which is probably one of my favorit

    I read this after Atonement, which is probably one of my favorite novels of all time.  I enjoyed On Chesil Beach very much.  It is not as grand in scale as Atonement, but has McEwan's razor sharp writing and intuition about people and relationships.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    Underlying meaning of this book is so much more than about sex

    I found this book to be beautifully written but perhaps a bit over descriptive. The emotions of the two characters felt so raw to me throughout the book. But the bottom line of this book is not about sex, it's about communication. Learning how to properly communicate with your partner is the single most important thing you can ever learn in your life. And this book shows you how not learning how to do it can alter the course of your life entirely. I found the ending to be so sad I was almost in tears. I kept thinking they would get in contact again at some point. The fact that they never spoke again ever is tremendously sad. Also the fact that Edward ended up a lonely old man with a broken marriage in his past and no children, which he dearly dreamed of, is just plain heartbreaking.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    From the reviews I had read of this book, I didn't expect much, although I am a big McEwan fan. How can an entire book focus on a wedding night consummation 'or nonconsummation, as the case may be'? But there is so much more here than just sex. It's really a novel about love and miscommunication. McEwan creates empathy for both Edward and Frances, and the tragedy that seems to haunt both their lives stems from societal pressures and a lack of honest communication. I listened to the audiobook. McEwan is a fine reader, and I especially appreciated the interview with the author at the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 12 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1