Ian McEwan — “On Chesil Beach” (2007)


I’ve already read this book several years ago in Russian. As far as I can remember now, I was well impressed, almost stunned. But for some weird reason, I gave “On Chesil Beach” away and forgot about this amazing book. I decided to buy this book in the original English language in Estonia and now I’ve managed to end it.

On Chesil Beach

The emotional part of this book is very strong and hard, while the plot is a quite simple: just married couple moves in the hotel and prepares for the first wedding night. He is interested in sex and relationships, while she is almost a frigid woman and even don’t know why she needs a husband at all. His masculine power reacts with her barrier of the undecidedness and outputs into a mess, into a disaster.


The Drama. I like dramas. Actually, I can understand both a man and a woman. But it seems to me that his reaction was a little bit stronger than it really needed. While he thought not with his upper head, he had lost almost a good gal. Just with problems. Maybe somebody can live with her coldness.

Characters. A novel is rather small, but Ian McEwan put a great effort in the characters development, so they are really alive. They are summoning empathy. And this is the most important thing you should know about “On Chesil Beach”.


Flashbacks. I know that they are important for the understanding of the novel, but an amount of them is quite annoying big.


Very interesting and aggressive novel, dangerous as the train wreck. It forces the old and new points of view on sex and marriage to confront. It’s like a battle between the XVIII and XIX centuries… Which side will you choose then?

Book cover via penguinrandomhouse.co.za