Friday, June 7, 2013
On Chesil Beach; Ian McEwan
Title: On Chesil Beach
Author: Ian McEwan
Publication Year: 2007
Publisher: Random House Audio
Reader: author - (very good)
Setting: Dorset coast, England
Date Completed: June - 2013
INTRO - "They were young, educated and both virgins on their wedding night, and they lived in a time when conversation about sexual differences was plainly impossible...."
Prior to starting this audio book, I really had no idea what it was about, as I had downloaded it to my iPod when it was first released in 2007 and hadn't thought much about it since. When I first started listening to it, I knew immediately that I would be wishing that I hadn't waited so long to try this one. (5) hours and fewer than 200 pages, I really liked it.
The story takes place in 1962, a time when it wasn't all that unusual for women and even some men to be virgins when they married --Florence Ponting and Edward Mayhew are such a couple. They come from very different backgrounds, Edward is a historian and the son of a school master and, Florence is a lead violinist and the daughter of a wealthy industrialist and professor.
The couple is honeymooning at the Georgian hotel on "Chesil Beach". While Edward is extremely anxious to consummate their marriage, he is also very worried about pleasing his new bride. Florence on the other hand, is frightened and almost disgusted about the thought of sex.
'The idea of being touched "down there", by someone else, even someone she loved, was as repulsive as, say, a surgical procedure on her eye.'
Florence had read the "wedding manual" which outlined what to expect on the wedding night. She knew that first, they would dine and have a special meal, but no way was she prepared for what was to happen later that night.
I wonder if the author intended for this novel to be one that would make some modern day readers laugh? I just couldn't keep the smile off my face at times. I found the writing to be so well done and even tender at times. Learning all about the couple, their background, their hopes and their fears made them seem all the more real. The 60s setting, prior to the sexual revolution, seemed to showcase realistically both sex and class in England during that time. Another thing I liked was that the author was able to pack a punch in fewer than 200 pages. He was able to show readers that every event in our lives, even something that might seem insignificant at the time, can really affect us for the rest of their lives.
If you haven't read this already, you should try it. I hated to see it end.