On Chesil Beach

McEwan, Ian

  10 Reviews

It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner, they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come - but for different reasons. Edward wants sex, Florence is sure she doesn't. Locked in their inhibitions and utterly unable to discuss their fears and needs, the situation is both miniature and enormous, dire and pathetic, tender and irrevocable. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups

Some enjoyed this book immensely, others found the story incredibly frustrating but still felt compelled to finish reading it to its inevitable conclusion. 'On Chesil Beach' generated a very animated, lengthy discussion. Tauranga 034

Another masterpiece from Ian McEwan. A tragicomedy of the era. The writer takes the reader so convincingly into the inner world of these very diverse characters. Christchurch 064

Had a good discussion for such a quick, easy read - lots of subtle, hidden messages and undertone. Most of the group enjoyed. Auckland 157

We loved this. Such a brilliant author who doesn't waste words but still paints such a complete picture...He gives just enough to make you wonder. Methven 001

A controversial subject sensitively and intelligently conveyed. Hamilton 024

We really admire Ian McEwan's talent but this book felt too distant, looking at the characters from on high. Lower Hutt 006

Probably created more discussion than most books. Writing style gets the highest marks. Not everyone liked 'the feeling of dread' that the writing created. As always McEwan leaves you to ponder what their lives could have been if they had communicated in an appropriate way. Wellington 057



We were amazed that McEwan could write a whole book about one night. We were impressed with his use of language, but wished for a happier ending. Will watch the movie next month.
HAVE 005
We had an extremely lively discussion about this book. We consider Ian McEwan an excellent writer. We even got the road map of Britain out to see Chesil Beach!
WANG 005
Most members thought this book was rather quaint and sad ( and long-winded!). A good reflection of some early 60s issues though.
AUCK 171
We all loved this book. Absolutely beautifully written, poignant, sad but also funny. Definitely one of our favourites.
A mixed response to this book. Some absolutely loved it - some didn't get past the first chapter!
NEWP 013
Although quite a few of us didn't particularly like this book, it raised a good discussion on the 'moral tone' of that time, and its limitations on discussion concerning sex. We also discussed the father/ daughter relationship - how that may have influenced our own choice of partner - and how that may have affected Florence's fear of sexual intercourse.
All thought the book was well structured and beautifully written. Half of the group though, felt the story was sad and a bit gloomy.
CHCH 099
This book generated a great discussion. All loved the book, thought Ian McEwan a superb writer. We took great pleasure in re-reading passages aloud and savoring the language. As the discussion went on we discovered how layered the book was, especially considering it was a novella, and different people picked up different aspects and events, which made the discussion particularly stimulating.
UPHU 007
Some enjoyed the book and we had a lively discussion. It was a commentary on the time and the class. Well-written and set out in an interesting fashion. Not so likely to happen these days.
A quick read, well written.