On Chesil Beach

  • by Ian McEwan
  • Narrated by Ian McEwan
  • 4 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Newly married that morning, both virgins, Edward and Florence arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their worries about the wedding night to come. Edward, eager for rapture, frets over Florence's response to his advances and nurses a private fear of failure, while Florence's anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by sheer disgust at the idea of physical contact, but dreads disappointing her husband when they finally lie down together in the honeymoon suite. Ian McEwan has caught with understanding and compassion the innocence of Edward and Florence at a time when marriage was presumed to be the outward sign of maturity and independence. On Chesil Beach is another masterwork from McEwan: a story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

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What the Critics Say

"Masterful." (Publishers Weekly)
"Conventional in construction and realistic in its representation of addled psychology, the novel is ingenious for its limited but deeply resonant focus." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

One of the best new novels in recent years

NcEwan has crafted a compelling and tightly woven novel of two lives that are changed by one night and the things not said. To say much more about the story could spoil it for the next reader. I found it difficult to stop listening to it. A perfect audio book for a long car trip when you can listen nonstop. As a literary work this will remain a significant work of this century. The author reads this shot novel with a level of feeling and drama that would be difficult for anyone else to match. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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- George

More than I Expected

The description of this book didn't sound too promising, even though I'm a big McEwan fan . . . how can one write an entire book about a few hours on a wedding night? But McEwan deftly creates two engaging characters who generate the reader's empathy. I found the interview with the author particularly insightful, especially on the question of why he summed up Edward's life in the end but not Florence's. Not all authors are good readers, but McEwan does a fine job. Don't be put off by reviews which make it sound as if the book is about nothing but sex. It's so much more.
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- Cariola

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-02-2007
  • Publisher: Random House Audio