Book #8: On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan

Again, I really didn’t expect to be writing so soon, but the fact that I can speaks for how busy I’ve been lately (by which I mean not at all). I’ve started Nick Offerman’s memoir, but since it’s not exactly plot-driven (and I find his writing style a bit tedious), I’m looking at it as a longer term reading project that can be accompanied by other things.

So last night, since I didn’t feel much like delving into Offerman’s book, I grabbed On Chesil Beach off my bookshelf. I just purchased this book last week, but it looked like a quick read and I really enjoyed reading Ian McEwan’s Atonement in November, so I thought I’d give it a go.

About 12 hours later, I finished the book (though I didn’t read it straight through). It took no time to read, but that doesn’t mean there’s no depth to the book; it’s heartbreaking and frustrating and funny and upsetting.

Essentially, the book is a scrutinizing look at just a few hours in the lives of Florence and Edward, a couple who married earlier in the day. The book begins with them sitting to eat dinner at the hotel where they’ll be staying on their wedding night, and both characters have anxieties about consummating their marriage (though their anxieties are quite different).

The book features almost zero dialogue, instead offering glimpses at the inner workings of the couple’s minds as they reach an important moment in their marriage. Without giving anything away, if this book doesn’t make you consider your own relationships and how you communicate, I don’t know what will.


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