On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

About the book

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…
On Chesil Beach is another masterwork from Ian McEwan – a story about how the entire course of a life can be changed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

Reviewed by King’s Somborne Reading Group:

We thoroughly enjoyed this read – we had a lively conversation about naivety and ignorance and incompatibility of the couple. A compelling read, beautifully crafted and we would recommend it heartily.

Star rating: ****

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8 thoughts on “On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan”

  1. Review by Gosport Bookworms Reading Group:
    There was a mixed response to this novel. Some fount it very funny, others thought it a small tragedy. Basically we thought it a study of misunderstanding or lack of communication between a couple. All of us, however, enjoyed McEwans elegant prose style.
    Star rating: **


  2. Review by Shipton Bellinger WI Reading Group:
    The majority of our readers agreed the book was very well written, with excellent descriptive passages, but they didn’t like the content.
    Star rating: ***


  3. Review by Lee Reading Group:
    McEwan’s ability to ‘mirror’ the thoughts of others is outstanding. He writes on the demoralising effects of shame, secrecy, shock and the devastating effects of lack of understanding inward thoughts of others. His message in the book is how the lack of a word or gesture can make so much difference to life. This is a very well written book and makes one realise how (with hindsight) we – all of us can appreciate how different our lives would have been if we ‘spoke up’ when the opportunity arrived.
    Star rating: ***


  4. Review by Anon Reading Group:
    All agreed it was well written; a sensitive description of a very sad situation. The subject matter was not to everyone’s taste.
    Star rating: **


  5. Review by Monday, Monday Book Club:
    It was generally felt that this was one of the saddest books we had read in this group. Its themes were lost opportunities and things not said, in an era modern by date but not by attitude (1962). We discussed how typical this couple were of their time, and how much they were shaped by their own uniquw backgrounds, and how neither wanted to face up to ignorance and the possibilty of failure. The writing is sensitive, and beautifully descriptive.
    Rating: ****


  6. Review by Winchester HIP Reading Group:
    Most of the group disliked the book and found the characters unbelievable. But two of us thought it was exquisite, razor sharp and deeply moving.
    Star rating: **


  7. Review by Hill Head Readers
    Everyone in the group enjoyed reading it and felt the descriptions were brilliant and the portrayal of life in the 1960s exceptionally good. The main weakness was the conclusion – too many threads were left unexplored and the characters under developed.
    Star rating ***


  8. Review by Fareham 5:30 Reading Group
    This was a difficult book to discuss. Some people were left umoved by it, others really enjoyed it. Those of us who liked it enjoyed the back-story of the characters, and found it beautifully written. 3 stars


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