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  • Published: 1 February 2008
  • ISBN: 9780099512790
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $19.99

On Chesil Beach




A short novel of quite remarkable depth, power and poignancy by a writer at the height of his powers

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.

  • Published: 1 February 2008
  • ISBN: 9780099512790
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is the critically acclaimed author of seventeen books. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; The Cement Garden; Enduring Love; Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize; Atonement; Saturday; On Chesil Beach; Solar; Sweet Tooth; The Children Act; Nutshell; and Machines Like Me, which was a number-one bestseller. Atonement, Enduring Love, The Children Act and On Chesil Beach have all been adapted for the big screen.

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Praise for On Chesil Beach

McEwan's style is lean and clear...every sentence feels carefully crafted, the words all perfectly in place

John Harding, Daily Mail

A tightly focused human drama... McEwan gives the reader access to both characters' thoughts with his usual skill, and the comedy of embarrassment, or of the kind of erotic misunderstanding that Milan Kundera used to specialise in, quickly disappears as the marital bed begins to seem more and more ominous... The bedroom scene itself is carried off brilliantly

Christopher Taylor, Sunday Telegraph

A fine book, homing in with devastating precision on a kind of Englishness which McEwan understands better than any other living writer, the Englishness of deceit, evasion, repression and regret. In On Chesil Beach McEwan has combined the intensity of his narrowly focused early work with his more expansive later flowered to devastating effect

Justin Cartwright, Independent on Sunday

McEwan is the kind of author who can say more in a sentence than most can say in a chapter...This is a thoughtful book which provokes thought. But more immediately than that, this is a book which, while managing to be very funny, gives us a wonderful and moving portrait of a specific time, and two of its hostages, and of how to make a mess of love

Keith Ridgeway, Irish Times

This is McEwan's mature style, one we have come to recognise from Atonement and Saturday. It is a polished, civilised style, and very distant from the shock tactics of his early work... McEwan brings Florence and Edward touchingly alive for us; and their seriousness, their idealism, and their desire for love draw us towards them

Natasha Walter, Guardian

A master feat of concentration in both senses of the word

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

One of our greatest living writers. Many Easter weekends and train journeys will be enlivened by a compelling novella

Christopher Dolan, Herald

To commend an author for being reminiscent of Edith Wharton is a compliment that this reviewer reserves for a select few. Yet with On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan has earnt it

Lionel Shriver, Telegraph

It is a masterpiece. The very idea that informs it, fascinating and unfamiliar, is masterly

Karl Miller, TLS

A didactic, ironic novella of great accomplishment and calculated ambition. Structurally and linguistically, it is a triumph...intriguingly compassionate

Tom Chatfield, Prospect

It is a measure of McEwan's artistry that he is able here both to linger in the recording of sensuous particularities and at the same time to deliver the satisfactions of plot we are accustomed to deriving from his fiction

Time Out, Book of the Week

McEwan shares with his fellow English novelist Jim Crace not only an interest in history but in finding a style in prose that is slow-moving, yet compelling, at times stilted and dry, and then suddenly sharp and precise

Colm Toibin, London Review of Books

The protagonists of On Chesil Beach have everything to lose, and their faltering journey towards a point of no return is conjured into life by McEwan with irresistible subtlety, tact and force

Scotsman

The book is steeped in lost hopes and disappointments, with each sentence as powerful as a Larkin poem. I didn't know a British novelist could still be this good.

Express

McEwan is word-perfect at handling the awkward comedy of this relationship and, as ever, turning it into something far more disturbing

Observer

Two characters so vibrant they step straight off the page

Yvonne Cassidy, The Tablet

McEwan's brilliance as a novelist lies in his ability to isolate discrete moments in life and invest them with incredible significance

Tim Adams, Observer

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