Bowerbird's Reviews > On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
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's review
May 29, 2010

it was ok
Read in May, 2010

** spoiler alert ** A tale of the wedding night of a couple who only know each other on a superficial level. Ian McEwan makes the scenario very convincing, and as a noted writer so he should, but nevertheless I am sceptical. Would a young man like Edward put his fiancee so much on a pedestal that their relationship as an engaged couple progressed no further than it did? Sexual desire wasn't invented in the sixties. Even a man in love like Edward would get an inkling that there was something not quite right about Florence long before the wedding if his frustations were as deep as suggested.
I can sympathise with Florence's dread of lovemaking if she had been abused by her father. (Surely the plot depends on this to have any depth, although McEwan fails to spell it out.) It would also explain the underlying tensions within her family and her parents' apparent eagerness to accept Edward as her chosen husband.
The inevitably sad conclusion makes the point that they loved each other enough to have solved the problem if they had been able to communicate.
A short book which could easily have been condensed into a shorter and maybe slicker story.

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