My Review of McEwan’s On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan

…a reluctant book review

I have to be honest here, I don’t particularly enjoy writing reviews. In fact, I read about ten times as many books as I write about here. This may have something to do with the fact that personally, I do not enjoy reading book reviews. I even go so far as to stubbornly read a book without once looking at the blurb on the back. On top of this, if the blurb on the back is quotes like “this is SIMPLY engrossing” then forget it, the book doesn’t even get opened.Image

Grumpiness aside, I have chosen to emerge from my antisocial cave to give my tuppence worth about Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach. This is because on this occasion I am moved to do so, simply because of the fact that I am still thinking about the characters, days after finishing the last page.

Chesil Beach book review

I know I’m very slow of the mark in terms of the height of this book’s fame and interest, and I’m not even sure how well it was initially received (given my aversion to book reviews myself) but I have to say – this novel is one that really stays with you. Exploring dark emotion such as fear, horror and hate, as well as family ties and obligation, On Chesil Beach is complex network of contradictions and human avoidance. (Not even sure if that sentence makes sense so I apologise)

In short, the novel in theory takes place in one fateful evening, but spends a lot of time looking back at past events, all the time building to a climax on Chesil Beach.

I don’t know what it says about me, but I really felt for Florence and found myself relating to the character. The points she raised and also heard were poignant and thought-provoking. I like that this book was challenging in terms of not giving the reader everything on a plate, and making me want to work out the stories behind the characters.

After quite a slow first half, the end really galloped along, and I couldn’t put it down for the last 50 pages or so. I simply had to find out what happened, but mainly how they were each feeling at every stage. I’d recommend this novel (and also Solar, though they are very very different).

looking forward to the next book

I really should be less grumpy about book reviews actually. Only recently I read a blog entry recommending FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell and the conclusion was so solid that I ran to buy it almost immediately. That said, I’m still yet to start it..

Little plug alert: When I can, I buy my books from a lovely bookshop in Hampshire.

Laurence Oxley Alresford Bookshop