On Chesil Beach
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*** This comment contains spoilers! ***
The back cover description suggests a tale of a newlywed couple on their wedding night and that pretty much sums it up - what it didn't warn me about was the graphic detail McEwan uses to describe events of the evening... well I considered it graphic anyway and am not sure I needed that much detail
The back cover description suggests a tale of a newlywed couple on their wedding night and that pretty much sums it up - what it didn't warn me about was the graphic detail McEwan uses to describe events of the evening... well I considered it graphic anyway and am not sure I needed that much detail to understand the point he was trying to make!
The book is short - I got through it in one sitting of two to three hours - but it's one of those books that you just can't take at face value. I'm still not sure whether I enjoyed reading it - but I did find myself thinking about the characters and their histories and trying to work out why McEwan wrote the book.
The short of it is this - following a 12 month courtship Edward and Florence find themselves alone in the honeymoon suite of a hotel on Chesil beach, what follows is a *mishap* which leaves Florence heading for the beach in embarrassment and disgust and Edward alone in the room feeling angry and humiliated. Their joint inability to discuss their feelings leaves the marriage in tatters and the two never see or speak to each other again.
All quite sad really.
But throughout the novel McEwan shares snippets of their earlier lives, how Edward's mother became brain-damaged when he was five, and the lengths his family went to to pretend that she was a normal loving mother. How Florence's family were much better off, but her parents showed her no affection - well I say no affection but I got the distinct feeling she had been sexually abused by her father as a child - perhaps the source of her discomfort with intimacy.
I was intrigued by the fact that following their divorce Florence went on to pursue her dreams while Edward followed a completely different path. I did wonder what happened to Florence relationship wise - since we were told that Edward was married again, if only for a short time.
But that's as far as I got...
I have to admit this lost me along the way, and while I'm sure some of the things I just mentioned are part of the point McEwan was trying to make I wasn't interested enough in the characters to try and unravel it all. I think perhaps McEwan could have made much more of this tale and turned it into one worth reading rather than glossing over so many details and leaving us guessing.
In fact - I think I should have just read the last page and I may have walked away happy.
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ti metto nel guinnes book of records per il commento più complesso e lungo che abbia mai incontrato su Anobii. ciao
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