On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan–Book Review

On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach, (book 67 on my reading list) by Ian McEwan is a book I read for the Dallas bookstore Interabang’s book club.

But for the local book club and the adaptation movie of the same name, I wonder if I’d ever read this. 

Once past the vivid honeymoon sex between the two main characters, Florence and Edward, this is a tremendous story.

Another McEwan classic and a fabulous read.

McEwan forges a tremendous story, making the book a fabulous read. It’s just the sticky parts if you will pardon the pun, that makes it, well, yeah.

In this title, one becomes enchanted with McEwan’s colorful and deliberate writing.

He minces few descriptive words and emotions between the characters. 

Exploring the hearts of On Chesil Beach’s characters.

McEwan leaves little to the imagination while leaving the reader to feel as though that has happened.

My own works include parts my SMU novel writing advisor warns might get me banned from libraries. I promise you, it has nothing in this book.


Exquisite passages in the minds of Edward and Florence.

But the parts where McEwan explores the heart of Edward and his feelings about his love for Florence, his new wife, are exquisite.

On page 152, Edward thinks to himself, “He was discovering that being in love was not a steady state, but a matter of fresh surges or waves, and he was experiencing one now.”

Pages 177-78 set up the crux of Florence’s inner argument in such an amazing way:

“It was the brooding expectation of her giving more, and because she didn’t, she was a disappointment for slowing everything down. Whatever new frontier she crossed, there was always another waiting for her. Every concession she made increased the demand, and then the disappointment. Even in their happiest moments, there was always the accusing shadow, the barely hidden gloom of his unfulfillment, looming like an alp, a form of perpetual sorrow which had been accepted by them both as her responsibility.”

Other Reviews of On Chesil Beach.

The San Francisco Chronicle called the book a “perfect novel.”

Does such a work exist?

With all the sexual content, I cannot agree with that assessment.

Yes, I know this is part of life, birds and bees and all, but dubbing this the perfect novel is beyond the pale.

Just call me a prude.

The back story that feeds it, yes. And I understand why it’s necessary to have it to feed the backstory, just call me a prude. I’d like to take my daughter to book club next month and I’m not really going to feel comfortable doing that given the nature of this book.

The writing is quite good, that said. The story is one I do recommend. It will stick with you and make you think. And that is what a novel and good characters are supposed to do. And what the perfect novel is supposed, in fact, to be. Yes, I’m contradicting myself. Read a few pages as a parent with children and you will understand why….

The Movie

As you may know, the movie, starring Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle, will be released on May 18, 2018.

It will be interesting to see how they externalize the emotions of the two characters when so much of the book is internalized.

The trailer looks quite good and in reading the comments, most commenters have little idea what the story is about.

Fifty Shades of Gray; limited British version.

Though I did find it comical when one described it as “Fifty Shades of Gray; limited British version.”

Here’s the trailer for your benefit.

What I did notice in the trailer and you can see in the image above as they’re sitting out by the ocean, he’s wearing his coat and tie.

On page 175 when he comes to her there in the book, she thinks to herself, “At least he had not put on his tie!”

So the adaptation skews from the book and ventures into its own territory. It will be interesting to see how far.

This is an image of the tree line from the new County Road 510 Bridge near Marquette, Michigan.


Donald J. Claxton | The Timberlander, a selfie from camping for 13 weeks in 2022 on the Claxton family land in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northwest of Marquette.

Donald J. Claxton is
‘The Timberlander’

Hello, I’m Donald J. 

I refer to myself as “The Timberlander” because I love off-grid living and woodworking.

My Great Pyrenees, Maycee, and I enjoy spending our time in the woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

In the UP, I craft, make, grow, run, carve, and generate:

  • Custom crosses
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  • My water
  • Basswood figurines and ornaments
  • My own power

Check out my crafts for sale in The Timberlander’s Treasures.

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