1. Book title:
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
2. Words that describe the book:
3. Settings or characters:
4. Things I liked/disliked about the book:
* I love McEwan’s spare writing.
* I like the way the characters’ back stories are revealed and the similarities they unknowingly share.
* I’m intrigued by a novel about two people whose lives are forever changed by one misunderstanding.
* I liked the audiobook.
5. Stars or less: 4 stars.
It is 1962 when Edward and Florence, 23 and 22 respectively, marry and repair to a hotel on the Dorset coast for their honeymoon. They are both virgins, both apprehensive about what’s next and in Florence’s case, utterly and blindly terrified and repelled by the little she knows.
McEwan is the master of the defining moment, that place and time when, once it has taken place, nothing will ever be the same after it. It does not go well and Florence flees the room. “As she understood it, there were no words to name what had happened, there existed no shared language in which two sane adults could describe such events to each other.” Edward eventually follows her and they have a poignant and painful conversation where accusations are made, ugly things are said and roads are taken from which, in the case of these two, the way back cannot be found. Late in Edward’s life he realizes: “Love and patience–if only he had them both at once–would surely have seen them both through.” This beautifully told sad story could have been conceived and written only by Ian McEwan. –Valerie Ryan
Library copy – audiobook
The Season of Second Chances