On Chesil Beach

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Ian McEwan is a brilliant writer.  I have enjoyed so many of his books.  Funny enough, I never got through Atonement but after reading On Chesil Beach, I feel inclined to try again. 

On Chesil Beach is a small novel.  A five part book that follows the lives of 2 characters who marry in the early 1960’s at the young ages of 23.  The story unfolds on their wedding night.  Both characters who are young, naive and uneducated about sex.  McEwan takes the reader back to how they met, their lives growing up and how they come to meet.  Each comes from a completely different life style (class differences) and environment. 

The story captures a time.  The gap between the 50’s and 60’s.  The couple wasn’t part of the free love of the 60’s yet they weren’t their parents of the 50’s.  Their disastrous attempt to consummate their marriage on their wedding night leads to an explosive event that changes their lives forever.  There is no doubt that they both love each other but their views on sex are dramatically different.  Then they finally say what they have been thinking all along.

Short and sweet but deep.   A wonderful read for a lazy afternoon.