June 04, 2008

Review: On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach
by Ian McEwan

It was because of the Ravenous Reader's well written review giving this audio book high marks that I had it rushed to me from the library. What a treat! It was everything she promised it would be. I could hardly do a better job of reviewing it myself so I encourage you to follow the link.

In essence, this book is about the honeymoon night of Florence and Edward, a young couple very much in love but with very different ideas about what will happen on their first night of married life. Edward has patiently waited to be with Florence and is anxious to experience the next step but Florence is downright repulsed at the idea of s*x. What happens on this night will affect the rest of their lives.

This novel is so beautifully written. Every little detail in it serves a purpose and brings the reader along to the final destination. The characters are memorable and sympathetic. Every part of it is believable. And listening to the author read his own work was a joy indeed. If you can get your hands on this audio it is well worth the trouble. The interview at the end is helpful in explaining the development process and the exact mood and how it was all masterfully put together.

If anyone had told me that one of my favorite books would have a heavy war theme I would have looked sceptically at them. If they had told me that I'd feel the same way about a book dealing so heavily with s*x I'd have laughed nervously. Yet Atonement and On Chesil Beach are certainly favorites. If Mr. McEwan can make these two themes appealing to me then he has some kind of magic. I anxiously await the two other books I've already ordered: Saturday and Amsterdam.


Zibilee said...

I have only read Atonement from this author, and have been thinking of reading either this one or Enduring Love. I really enjoyed your review, and think that I am going to give this book at try. McEwan is a brilliant writer, and eventually I hope to read everything he has out

ravenousreader said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I don't always like audio books, but it's a treat to hear the author's voice. That certainly adds a new dimension. And I really enjoyed the interview at the end. Somehow, I though he was a younger man, but he must be in his mid 60's, judging by some of the comments in the interview.

I'm still struck by the poignancy of this story - the way that one bad moment between them completely altered their lives, perhaps needlessly.

I've read Atonement, but not any of his other books. I'll look forward to reading your review of those!

(BTW, thanks for the link, and your nice comments :)

Kate said...

I haven't read this one, but have read Atonement and Amsterdam, two very different novels. I thought they were both brilliant. Great review!

Petunia said...

Zibilee-I share that same plan to read everything by McEwan. His kind of brilliance is just right for me.

Ravenous-I saw an interview of him when the movie Atonement came out. I love that he is so willing to speak to his fans.

Kate-I should be receiving Amsterdam sometime this week. Can't wait to give it a go.

Trish said...

Oh, you've made me want to read more of McEwan--NOW! :) Sounds nice--I really loved his writing in Atonement and look forward to more of his works. However, I struggled a little bit with the war section of Atonement--although I understand the purpose, it seemed a little out of place with the rest of the novel.