“It is June 1962. In a hotel on the Dorset coast, overlooking Chesil Beach, Edward and Florence, who got married that morning, are sitting down to dinner in their room. Neither is entirely able to suppress their anxieties about the wedding night to come…”
Ian McEwan is the author of one of my favourite books (Atonement) so I was very curious to see what his other works are like. ‘On Chesil Beach’ is a beautiful compilation of apprehension and suspense, a case of ‘will they, won’t they?’.
The way the book was set out was nice and clear and worked well; it was written with their wedding night as the present, which was punctuated by Flashbacks from both Edward’s and Florence’s pasts. I liked the way this shaped my understanding of the characters throughout the novel – as the couple’s evening progresses, more was revealed about their relationship and themselves as individuals and I came to understand how they were shaped as individuals to become the people in the present.
The language itself is wonderfully sophisticated (as I would expect of McEwan!) and vibrant, despite being quite explicit in places. Ian McEwan has a way with words that allows him to create charming imagery as well as spin stories with apparent ease.
This book reminded me of ‘If nobody speaks of remarkable things’ by Jon Mcgregor. In both books, everything revolves around one event, one principle moment that has the ability to change everything and in both books the suspense created by the language is magical.
I really enjoyed reading this – Ian McEwan has once again thrilled me and given me yet more reason to hanker after more of his books…