The Bottom Line
- Ian McEwan is a commanding, precise writer and On Chesil Beach is absolutely a pleasure to read
- The story is layered and thought-provoking, but at the same time compelling and engrossing
- McEwan tells the story of a couple experiencing the seismic culture shift of the 1960s
- On Chesil Beach contains explicit sexual passages and isn’t appropriate for children
- Edward and Florence are thrilled and terrified, respectively, by their wedding night
- These marital thoughts are intercut with passages about their childhoods and how they met
- The stories of how each reached this brink of adulthood reveals much about Edward and Florence
Guide Review - On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan - Book Review
A large portion of the narrative is a detailed, unsensationalized description of the couple’s sexual exploration on their wedding. It’s not an erotic novel, but sex is an important part of the love story McEwan is telling.
The main strength of On Chesil Beach is the powerful, precise, and beautiful writing. Every sentence is a joy to read. Author Ian McEwan’s most recent novels—Atonement and Saturday—were critically acclaimed bestsellers. On Chesil Beach covers very different ground but deserves no less praise.