Monday, 9 June 2008
TITLE: ON CHESIL BEACH
AUTHOR: Ian McEwan
DATE READ: June 2008
NOTES: This novella is a beautifully constructed piece of writing. You are quickly drawn into the world of Florence and Edward as they approach their wedding night with trepidation. They obviously love each other but do not have the language to explain their fears and phobias. Florence is revolted by the whole idea of sex but tells herself she is prepared to go through with it because she loves Edward and it is what is expected of her. Neither of them realises that their love could have held their marriage together……
Although only 160 pages the book contains an amazing amount of detail about the backgrounds and histories of both Edward and Florence as well as a projection into the future following that fateful night.
I did have some problems with the general attitude to sex. Even though the “Swinging Sixties” were still waiting to happen, Florence’s pre-marital behaviour would have been considered somewhat extreme. (Compare with Frederica’s easy sexual alliances in A S Byatt’s Still Life)
However it is a delightful read which had me turning the pages rapidly as I was desperate to know how it would all turn out…….