rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was drawn to this novel from the opening line, "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." Now if that doesn't pique your interest and/or set up the story's conflict, I don't know what will. I'm a fan of Ian McEwan, having read Saturday and Atonement, and I knew that I would be in for a ride with his latest book. It's much more compact and taut than the other books of his I read since it only focus on one night and two main characters, Florence and Edward. Like his other works, he focuses on a single moment and how that moment can have lifelong consequences for all of the parties involved. I gave this book a five out of five because in only 200 pages, I felt I knew these two characters, their social situations and what brought them to this moment in time on Chesil Beach in June 1962. If Florence had been more sexually aware, would the night have gone better. Or what if Edward had been more communicative? We can only guess. Or were these two young people even compatible with each other? They seemed so different and only met because they were both didn't want to be where they currently were.
On Chesil Beach is a short, fast read, yet McEwan's prose and the rich details he employs will linger with you long after you set the book back on the shelf. My book club really enjoyed it and we all felt deep sympathy for these two characters who were lost in their time.
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