On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

69%

17 Critic Reviews

A full-length novel might have given McEwan chance to develop the characters and situation a bit more. On Chesil Beach felt too rushed and I found the ending verging on ludicrous.
-The Book Lover's Boudoir

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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Ian McEwan

See more books from this Author
Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of more than ten books, including the novels 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 has also written screenplays, plays, television scripts, a children's book, and the libretto for an oratorio. He lives in London.
 
Published June 10, 2008 by Anchor. 226 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Children's Books. Fiction
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Critic reviews for On Chesil Beach
All: 17 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 6

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by JONATHAN LETHEM on Jun 03 2007

His confidence in the authority of his chosen form is absolute, which is why he conveys such dazzling authority of his own.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Tim Adams on Mar 24 2007

McEwan's brilliance as a novelist lies in his ability to isolate discrete moments in a life and invest them with indelible significance

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Ted Gioia on Jun 03 2007

With his mastery of words, he has depicted how our lives can unravel through the words we are afraid to say, the crises we refuse to acknowledge.

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Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on Jan 24 2011

...McEwan gives readers a surprising level of insight into his main characters, who serve not only as representations of their time but also as well-developed individuals

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AV Club

Excellent
Reviewed by Noel Murray on Jul 06 2007

...it's best not to dwell too much at the hints McEwan drops about his two leads' tortured childhoods—hints which keep threatening to break On Chesil Beach's precise pitch with blunt revelation.

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Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Jennifer Reese on Jun 01 2007

To reveal what lies in store would lessen the pleasure of reading this small masterpiece, though it's hard to imagine that anything could spoil it.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Jonathan Yardley on Jun 03 2007

McEwan's prose is as masterly as ever, here striking a remarkably subtle balance between detachment and sympathy, dry wit and deep compassion.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Emma Hagestadt on Feb 01 2008

McEwan's narrative is endowed with the melancholy momentum of a thriller, history and personality propelling Edward and Florence across the "infinite shingle" to an unfeasibly desolate place

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The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Christopher Tayler on Apr 01 2007

This might not be the best book he's done for a while, but it's a far cry from being the worst.

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London Review of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Colm Tóibín on Apr 26 2007

On Chesil Beach, however, is full of odd echoes and has elements of folk tale, which make the pleasures of reading it rather greater than the joys of knowing what happened in the end

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Book Geeks

Below average
Reviewed by Tannith Cattermole on Jan 23 2011

What is especially moving about On Chesil Beach is the way McEwan strikes perfectly at the heart of many human fears and doubts, and describes so accurately the dance we dance; love and desire, fear of rejection

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Esquire

Below average
Reviewed by Buddy Kite on Jul 25 2007

It’s a bit voyeuristic. Borderline pervy. And if McEwan wasn’t so good at building tension, it’d be incredibly dull

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Helium

Below average
Reviewed by Jessica Schneider on Jul 08 2009

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan is an OK book, but nothing more than that. It's not bad, and nor is it really good either.

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The Book Lover's Boudoir

Below average
Reviewed by pamelascott30 on Oct 23 2012

A full-length novel might have given McEwan chance to develop the characters and situation a bit more. On Chesil Beach felt too rushed and I found the ending verging on ludicrous.

Read Full Review of On Chesil Beach

Onyx Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Ben Vincent

McEwan captures these characters' lives, hopes, dreams, disappointments and a few tragic hours that change everything, with a delicateness that makes it seem like a detailed painting, a moment captured forever in the memory of time.

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Chicago Center For Literature And Photography

Below average
Reviewed by Jason Pettus on Sep 26 2007

...the biggest problem is that the story itself is terrible, populated with despicable little characters doing despicable little things throughout...

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January Magazine

Good
Reviewed by David Abrams

This is a landmark novel which can be read quickly, but is certain to be slowly savored long after the last page is turned.

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Reader Rating for On Chesil Beach
69%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 451 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Brian Lee Kloosterman Jr. 17 Feb 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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