#bookaday One With A Blue Cover: On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

chesil beach


It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come…

This is really all that’s needed for a book description of this gem of a novella, written by one of my favourite modern writers. It is a sensitively written but devastating portrayal of sexual awkwardness between a newly married couple staying in a pokey hotel in Dorset.

“This is how the entire course of a life can be changed – by doing nothing.”

These haunting words give you an idea of how McEwan plays with your emotions. His descriptions draw you in to the minds of the characters, Florence in particular, and her silence leaves you wanting to change the course of their lives. Her paralysis is partly what makes it work. The ending left me with a deep sadness. I don’t think a book has ever worked on my emotions in quite the same way. A huge feat of narrative genius.




  1. Nina says:

    I felt exactly the same way once I finished the novel. Each time I read it, I am left with goosebumps. One so desperately wants them to resolve their problems, to get back together…The closing paragraph is sort of repercussion of their misunderstandings:)

    a recpurcussion


    1. fcmalby says:

      I completely agree with you. The frustration of reading the book is part of what keeps you hooked. The ending was tough. Thanks for your comments.


  2. alenaslife says:

    McEwan has been hit or miss for me, but this is on my To Read. Thanks for the reminder.


    1. fcmalby says:

      I wasn’t so keen on Amsterdam, so I can understand. I don’t think you can take it for granted that, because you enjoy an author, you’ll enjoy all their books.


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