On Chesil Beach (Large Print)
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On Chesil Beach (Large Print)

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  35,610 ratings  ·  4,180 reviews
A novel of remarkable depth and poignancy from one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.

It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Newly married that morning,...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 304 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Random House Large Print (first published January 1st 2007)
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i read this book in one sitting, on a plane from l.a. to nyc, and it just knocked my socks off. and i came up with a scenerio: imagine if i was flying cross country for some kind of mcewanesque purpose … suppose last time i had been in new york I had met a girl, had spent only a few hours with her, but came back changed. i walked around los angeles buzzed, different, everything slightly altered, colored with that feeling… alright, yeah, it sounds stupid, but go with me (and mcewan) on this. what...more
Sep 17, 2007 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of literature, dirty old men
The first thing you should know about this book is that, like the other Ian McEwan books I’ve read, it is about the most uncomfortable, awkward, and squirmy thing you’ll ever read. Don’t believe me? What if I told you that the book – which is 200 pages long – only covers about two hours of time: the first two hours of a newlywed couple’s honeymoon in which they fumble to consummate their marriage? And that both of them have very embarrassing sexual dysfunctions?

Well, that’s what the book is abo...more
Jason Pettus
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I hadn't intended on reading any Ian McEwan in the near future, and this wasn't even atop my McEwan "to-read" list. However, as it is short-listed for the Booker, and since I have a tendency to hardly ever keep up with contemporary literature, I was inspired to pick this up at the library yesterday. Then, I proceeded to read it in one sitting.

Of course, this rapid reading was very much aided by the length of the book, but this is ultimately an inconsequential reason for my fixation. As with *Ato...more
It took me three years to finish it. I bought it on Heathrow, eyes full of tears because I was departing from my boyfriend in Dublin via London. It was the n-th time I did this, fiercely sobbing while sitting on my luggage and hating every step of the known airport. It always took me a while to get a hold of myself, because London has always been no-man's land. Up to now, London has taken place as the place where my bipolar relationship reached its highs and lows. My head spinning in all directi...more
This deceptively light novella describes the events of Florence and Edward’s disastrous honeymoon night in 1962, interspersed with details of their childhoods and courtship to suggest how those influenced what happened. It is clinical and understated from the start: “The wedding... had gone well” and the “weather... not perfect but entirely adequate” and continues in the bedroom with detailed descriptions of physical sensations of skin, muscle, and even individual hairs, “stroking... for more th...more
Aug 26, 2010 Caris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: scorned lovers contemplating suicide
Shelves: 2010
Goddamn you, Ian McEwan.

With Saturday, you made me feel like I was going to throw up for a solid week. And, right now, I’m experiencing a similar feeling. I suppose I should thank you, as you’ve clearly pointed out that I react to extreme emotional manipulation with nausea.

I don’t know where I’m going to go here, but, mark my words, there will be spoilers. Of that I am sure.

What it reminds me of, really, is Aesop’s fables. On the last page, McEwan says:

This is how the entire course of a life can...more
Mar 21, 2009 Amanda rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Oh, I dunno. People without baggage.
Recommended to Amanda by: Read some good GR reviews, specifically LA Brian's
Shelves: 2009
I don't know who this story thinks it is is, but it can shove off. It has put me in a bad damn mood and all I wanna do is fight.

People are assholes.

You know... I just...
McEwan is such a famous and well reviewed author that he should stand up to scrutiny unlike say a first time author feeling their way .
I found the whole story unrealistic and artificial and some of the writing lazy .
we are asked to believe that 2 people so in love and apparently still so years after their disasterous wedding night should not have found a way to overcome the inauspicious start .

we are also led to believe that somehow this problem was because they were living in an era before sex...more

Back in about 1988 a friend lent me a novel she had just finished reading. "You must read this", she said, "it's amazing". The book was The Child in Time and I had heard of neither the book nor its author before. My friend was right about the book being amazing. I still remember being very impressed by the writing. However, I was devastated by the premise of the novel: the effect on a father of the abduction of his three year old child - so devastated that I decided not to read any more of McEwa...more
Dec 15, 2007 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those of us who enjoy whining about the complexity of heterosexual relationships these days
Reading Ian McEwan makes me want to give up forever on writing any more sentences of my own. It's just embarrassing. Why bother? Ugh.


I am really glad I didn't read this book when I was a kid. If it had existed then and I'd come across it, between On Chesil Beach and Bell Jar I would've almost certainly gotten me to a nunnery, and I'd be there right now (though come to think of it, would that be such a bad thing?).

Actually, I think I read this at precisely the right stage of my lif...more
This is a relatively short novel (just over 200 pages), but it carries quite a devastating emotional punch, particularly in its final chapters. McEwan's story concerns a newly married young couple in the early 1960's, neither of whom are sexually experienced. Edward looks forward to the societal license granted to him by his wedding to act on his physical impulses; Florence's love for Edward is honest, but the wedding night looms in her imagination like an unpleasant chore.

McEwan follows this c...more
Dec 28, 2007 Kelly rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: self-absorbed waspy bourgeois
Shelves: 2007, drama
OK, seriously, Ian McEwan, you wrote Saturday. Saturday! You wrote f*ing Saturday! With its introspection and good and evil and everyday life and drama and mundane-ness and life and death and brain surgery and racquetball all wrapped up together in one ponderous experience of a book.

So, Ian McEwan, what the hell is this crap???

It could have been good -- it was a promising premise. If only your characters hadn't been completely despicable, pathetic, mean creatures. I just want to find these two p...more
"É assim, não fazendo nada que todo o curso de uma vida pode ser alterado."

Um jovem casal na sua noite de núpcias.
Parecia-me tão pouco para ser merecedor de um livro...mas...após ler o último e comovedor parágrafo fechei o livro e pensei:
"Os livros são a trave mestra da minha vida! Sustêm-me, equilibram-me, ensinam-me, mostram-me alternativas e, acima de tudo, ajudam-me a compreender um pouco o mundo e as pessoas que me envolvem."

A história fala de um jovem casal apaixonado, prestes a consumar...more
Jan 17, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: long term McEwan fans
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: previous McEwan reads
Another good read from the master of many adjectives and the king of random plot twists, step forward please Mr Ian McEwan.As usual, becaue McEwan is probably the word-smith equivalent of a control freak, the story is locked in by some very tight time parameters.

You wouldn't imagine nowadays there would be a lot of mileage in writing about the few hours after the wedding and you would be right. No one wants to read about the groom worrying about keeping it up after seventeen pints of cheap hote...more
"On Chesil Beach" is a tight, tiny gem of a book. Almost a novella, the writing is so precise and evocative and meaningful that it takes virtually no time to read at all. I read "Atonement," also by Ian McEwan, a few years ago and enjoyed it very much; the same dark perspective on human relations and keen insight into behavior and the inner life is at work here. The book is "just" a study of a young couple’s wedding night in England, 1962. We learn about bride and groom in turn, peering briefly...more
Aug 25, 2013 Paul rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who's thinking about falling in love
Shelves: novels
This was a bit of real life Goodreads-style book-detective work. Not that much work really, but hey, kind of interesting to us weirdos.

I read this hot off the press and reviewed it saying thus :

Don't know if any other pop music geek already pointed this out - probably did - but it contains a major historical gaffe which amused and annoyed me - in 1962 the guy is playing his classical-music-loving fiancee Beatles and Stones records which wouldn't be released for a whole year. I bet IM is sick a
Oct 01, 2008 Michelle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michelle by: After Brian's review, how could I not read this book?
Shelves: novels
If you want to read a really good review of this book, click

Seriously. Go read that one. Don’t continue down this page.

My review is brought to you by the makers of Cialis®

You don’t want this to happen to you.

I loved this book. I did. I began reading it on my own cross-country trip while I hoped for an epiphany. What I learned is that I’ll always be the same person I am right now. I’ll always be the responsible girl who analyzes every facet of things before acting. I’ll only ever gain true un...more
I think this is a stunning book. It is simple and short, and its message is simple too. It beautifully captures the confused feelings between two people as they meet and fall in love and, through them, casts a light on the unique times of sexual liberation (or not) of the third quarter of the 20th century. I am sure that many people who were caught up in love during this period will find much to relate to.

Ian McEwan and I are effectively contemporaries; he was born in 1948, I in 1955. His descri...more
Demoledor. Qué agobio, por Dios. Un libro que te cambia la vida, o por lo menos que te hace adorar lo que tienes y sufrir por lo que has perdido; que lo que tienes ahora no lo pierdas jamás.

Decididamente, amo las novelas psicológicas, de narrador omniscente. Me ha recordado lejanamente a D. H. Lawrence por la profundidad en la descripción de la más mínima de las pasiones. Perfecta la dialéctica entre el pasado y la lectura dura y sin tapujos que sobre él se hace desde el presente.

Desesperada obr...more
When did the events of this narrative take place, one immediately wonders? The author mentions that they were some time ago, similar issues not likely to occur these days. Edward and Florence seem Victorian in their reticence, their innocence, their propriety, and yet they arrive at their honeymoon hotel in 1962, and Edward is 22 years old, Florence presumably about the same age. Their naiveté almost stretches the bounds of credulity. Why are they, in their early twenties, so sexually inexperien...more
On reflection, I am giving this book 5 stars. I have thought about it a lot since finishing it and I think its a great piece of writing.

Ah, what a sad but incredibly lovely read this was. Imagine the utmost British reserve, twined with the era in which this is set: very early 1960's, maddeningly close but fractionally before the explosion of free love and flower power.

For Florence and Edward, the young newly weds, this story is beautifully unwrapped in sparse yet rich prose as two individuals,...more
The following situation took place somewhere in an English pub.

-Say lad, you know the newest joke?
-No mate, bring it on.
-So there's this guy and this girl and they're having sex. Aftwerwards she turns over to her side and begins to speculate: "he was so silent today, I must have put on some pounds, or maybe it's that witch from the second floor, yes it must be that witch and her long, red hair, that damn hair I knew I should have dyed mine, it turns him on when I wear red, bla bla bli bli bla......more
Will Byrnes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want a short book for a school report.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
If Ian McEwan was not written on the front page, I would hardly believe that it is one of his novels. I didn't read one of his books since almost one year and a half and On Chesil Beach was on the "Recommanded" list of my bookstore so I decided to give it a try. Actually it has been a huge torture to finish that book.

Of course, Ian McEwan's writing is still really beautiful. He knows how to write but the story doesn't go anywhere and the characters are uninteresting, and the opposite of deep. T...more
I say, to embark on a journey with an author previously unfamiliar to me should be, for the most part, an interesting voyage. How thundering a disappointment when such proves not to be the case. On Chesil Beach, my introduction to Ian McEwan, is beautifully written; the imaginative, florid prose sticks to the brain waves and rides along a melodic note. The writing struck me at first, but that is the best I can say about this novel. It had premise that felt unfulfilled towards the end. So much ro...more
Stephanie Sun
Oh Ed and Flo, don't cry over spilled... er, nevermind.

This book will have you rolling your eyes at parts and thinking:


But after the story reaches its, um, climax—
"If his jugular had burst, it could not have seemed more terrible."

—McEwan recovers his terrific sense of pacing and character, and the book chugs grippingly through a lifetime's worth of wisdom with clean, eloquent prose and heart.

McEwan can be a really indulgent writer, and the first hal...more
On Chesil Beach is a dazzlingly quiet and delicate novel, exploring the fragile relationship between two awkward but hopeful young newlyweds on their wedding night.

The novel's underlying message applies with equal force to any human relationship: As Edward and Florence each struggle to overcome physical and emotional hardships, McEwan urges us to recognize that our fears and insecurities, no matter how overwhelming they may seem, are nothing measured against the rare and beautiful opportunity t...more
When we look back on our lives, the things we chose not to do might turn out to be far more important than the things we did. Ian McEwan beautifully explores this notion in On Chesil Beach. The novel, set in 1962 England, presents us with a newly-married couple, both of whom are 22-year-old frightened virgins. Sadly, and ultimately tragically, they're stymied not only by the sexual repression of their time and place, but also by rigid class distinctions.

The end of this story is as heartbreaking...more
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Ian McEwan was born on 21 June 1948 in Aldershot, England. He studied at the University of Sussex, where he received a BA degree in English Literature in 1970. He received his MA degree in English Literature at the University of East Anglia.

McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last...more
More about Ian McEwan...
Atonement Saturday Sweet Tooth Amsterdam Enduring Love

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“This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing.” 381 likes
“All she had needed was the certainty of his love, and his reassurance that there was no hurry when a lifetime lay ahead of them.” 121 likes
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