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On Chesil Beach

by

On Chesil Beach Cover

ISBN13: 9780307386175
ISBN10: 0307386171
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Awards

The Rooster 2008 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Staff Pick

To read McEwan is to be swept away by prose of astonishing precision and power, and to be constantly surprised by the ambition and breadth of his scope.
Recommended by Dave, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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, both virgins, Edward and Florence arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their worries about the wedding night to come. Edward, eager for rapture, frets over Florence's response to his advances and nurses a private fear of failure, while Florence's anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by sheer disgust at the idea of physical contact, but dreads disappointing her husband when they finally lie down together in the honeymoon suite.

Ian McEwan has caught with understanding and compassion the innocence of Edward and Florence at a time when marriage was presumed to be the outward sign of maturity and independence. On Chesil Beach is another masterwork from McEwan — a story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

Review:

"It's a bit voyeuristic. Borderline pervy. And if McEwan wasn't so good at building tension, it'd be incredibly dull....But coming off the heels of his highly praised and 'important' novels like Atonement and Saturday, On Chesil Beach just feels light....Where are the big ideas? The literary ambition? Chalk it up as an amuse-bouche, a good summer read, before his next big one." Buddy Kite, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Review:

"After two big, ambitious novels...McEwan has inexplicably produced a small, sullen, unsatisfying story that possesses none of those earlier books' emotional wisdom, narrative scope or lovely specificity of detail....[A] smarmy portrait of two incomprehensible and unlikable people." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"The story unfolds in a perfect manner, withholding now and then for effect, even omitting sometimes, with the result that On Chesil Beach is not only a wonderful read but also perhaps that rarest of things: a perfect novel." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"If McEwan's first chapters generally ought to be sent, like Albert Pujols's bats, to the Hall of Fame, then we may agree that in this instance his first sentence is a first chapter of its own." Jonathan Lethem, New York Times

Review:

"On Chesil Beach, a novella-length story, is a short, sad, slight book about anxiety, inexperience, hope and the triumph of failure. Vintage McEwan." Chicago Sun-Times

Review:

"[R]eplete with pleasures: keen observations of family dynamics, of English life, of fortune's randomness." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"[P]acks a pretty good wallop....Marvelously realized and treacherously conceived." Boston Globe

Review:

"McEwan's stories are introspective and, at times, told at a wondering distance....The most moving section of the book is the final, fifth section in which the future is revealed in its entire could-have, should-have splendor." Denver Post

Review:

"[T]hough life is never easy, as the narrator reminds us, gorging ourselves on McEwan's impeccable prose is." Miami Herald

Review:

"[An] achingly beautiful narrative....Conventional in construction and realistic in its representation of addled psychology, the novel is ingenious for its limited but deeply resonant focus." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Breathtaking." The Washington Post Book World

Synopsis:

In 1962, Florence and Edward celebrate their wedding in a hotel on the Dorset coast. Yet as they dine, the expectation of their marital duties weighs over them. And unbeknownst to both, the decisions they make this night will resonate throughout their lives. With exquisite prose, Ian McEwan creates in On Chesil Beach a story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

Synopsis:

A novel following James, a pilot struggling to survive in a German POW camp, his young war-bride, Rose, back in England trying to make sense of her life, and his sister, whose own story is also rewritten by the tragedies of WWII

Synopsis:

Shot down on his first mission, James is taken to a German POW camp. To bide the time, he studies a family of birds. Some prisoners have been taken out of the camp and shot; some plot escape. And then, one day, the Kommandant invites him for a drive.

With James away, his young war bride Rose is free in a way she has never known — working as an air raid warden, roaming the countryside with only her dog as company. Until a furloughed soldier brings new choices.

And then Jamess sister, Enid, is bombed out of London. She loses her home and her lover in one tragic, impersonal act of war. Her only refuge is her brothers — Roses — home. Each is protective of her secrets, but the two form a surprising friendship.

Each of these characters will find liberty amid wars privations and discover confinements that come with peace. From a writer of “delicate and incandescent” (San Francisco Chronicle) prose, The Evening Chorus offers a beautiful, spare examination of the natural world and the human heart.

About the Author

Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of more than ten books, including the novels Saturday; Atonement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the W. H. Smith Literary Award; The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize; and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award, as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets. He lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

JLB9698, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by JLB9698)
On Chesil Beach is a story of newlyweds whose miscommunication during their honeymoon end up destroying their chance for a life together. McEwan, with his amazing style and prose, shows us that our journey in life can be as fragile as a few words.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
swange, July 2, 2010 (view all comments by swange)
I hated this book. Then I read it again to see if I was missing something-but still found it annoying. I think I was more frustrated than the characters.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
mgreiner1, June 25, 2010 (view all comments by mgreiner1)
McEwan's writing is exquisite. In this case, exquisitely painful, as we wait page after page for the consummation of this marriage. Memories of one's personal awkwardness when entering the sexual realm are inevitable. This book might serve as a call for abstinence with our teenagers, just so they don't have to go through what these people endured.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307386175
Author:
McEwan, Ian
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Author:
Humphreys, Helen
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Married people
Subject:
Intimacy (psychology)
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Cloth
Publication Date:
20080631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects


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On Chesil Beach Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Anchor Books - English 9780307386175 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

To read McEwan is to be swept away by prose of astonishing precision and power, and to be constantly surprised by the ambition and breadth of his scope.

"Review" by , "It's a bit voyeuristic. Borderline pervy. And if McEwan wasn't so good at building tension, it'd be incredibly dull....But coming off the heels of his highly praised and 'important' novels like Atonement and Saturday, On Chesil Beach just feels light....Where are the big ideas? The literary ambition? Chalk it up as an amuse-bouche, a good summer read, before his next big one." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "After two big, ambitious novels...McEwan has inexplicably produced a small, sullen, unsatisfying story that possesses none of those earlier books' emotional wisdom, narrative scope or lovely specificity of detail....[A] smarmy portrait of two incomprehensible and unlikable people."
"Review" by , "The story unfolds in a perfect manner, withholding now and then for effect, even omitting sometimes, with the result that On Chesil Beach is not only a wonderful read but also perhaps that rarest of things: a perfect novel."
"Review" by , "If McEwan's first chapters generally ought to be sent, like Albert Pujols's bats, to the Hall of Fame, then we may agree that in this instance his first sentence is a first chapter of its own."
"Review" by , "On Chesil Beach, a novella-length story, is a short, sad, slight book about anxiety, inexperience, hope and the triumph of failure. Vintage McEwan."
"Review" by , "[R]eplete with pleasures: keen observations of family dynamics, of English life, of fortune's randomness."
"Review" by , "[P]acks a pretty good wallop....Marvelously realized and treacherously conceived."
"Review" by , "McEwan's stories are introspective and, at times, told at a wondering distance....The most moving section of the book is the final, fifth section in which the future is revealed in its entire could-have, should-have splendor."
"Review" by , "[T]hough life is never easy, as the narrator reminds us, gorging ourselves on McEwan's impeccable prose is."
"Review" by , "[An] achingly beautiful narrative....Conventional in construction and realistic in its representation of addled psychology, the novel is ingenious for its limited but deeply resonant focus."
"Review" by , "Breathtaking."
"Synopsis" by , In 1962, Florence and Edward celebrate their wedding in a hotel on the Dorset coast. Yet as they dine, the expectation of their marital duties weighs over them. And unbeknownst to both, the decisions they make this night will resonate throughout their lives. With exquisite prose, Ian McEwan creates in On Chesil Beach a story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.
"Synopsis" by , A novel following James, a pilot struggling to survive in a German POW camp, his young war-bride, Rose, back in England trying to make sense of her life, and his sister, whose own story is also rewritten by the tragedies of WWII
"Synopsis" by ,
Shot down on his first mission, James is taken to a German POW camp. To bide the time, he studies a family of birds. Some prisoners have been taken out of the camp and shot; some plot escape. And then, one day, the Kommandant invites him for a drive.

With James away, his young war bride Rose is free in a way she has never known — working as an air raid warden, roaming the countryside with only her dog as company. Until a furloughed soldier brings new choices.

And then Jamess sister, Enid, is bombed out of London. She loses her home and her lover in one tragic, impersonal act of war. Her only refuge is her brothers — Roses — home. Each is protective of her secrets, but the two form a surprising friendship.

Each of these characters will find liberty amid wars privations and discover confinements that come with peace. From a writer of “delicate and incandescent” (San Francisco Chronicle) prose, The Evening Chorus offers a beautiful, spare examination of the natural world and the human heart.

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