On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach

A Novel

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
On their wedding day, a young couple--Florence, daughter of an Oxford academic and a successful businessman, and Edward, an earnest history student with little experience of women--looks forward to the future while worrying about their upcoming wedding night.
Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, 2008
Edition: First Anchor Books edition
Copyright Date: ℗♭2007
ISBN: 9780307386175
Branch Call Number: FICTION MCEWAN
Characteristics: 203 pages ; 21 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 10, 2019

A proof of McEwan's talent can be seen in the way he can masterfully describe the same type of scene in highly different way. Let's just take romantic relations and love scenes, for instance. The way he describes them in "On Chesil Beach" has not much in common with those of "Atonement" or "Sweet Tooth". Unlike some authors that keep repeating themselves, McEwan is often surprising and, even more of an accomplishment, his writing feels true.

Nov 10, 2017

oh my: you'll remember what you wasted; it may have slipped asunder but always relish the spirit

multcolib_susannel Mar 22, 2016

Intense story of two private people who struggle to become intimate.

Feb 09, 2016

This very short (200 pages) story covers two hours of the wedding night of Florence and Edward. They are in their early twenties and both very inexperienced. It is 1962 but they both seem to be products of the very prim prudish Victorian era. Each has no experience, and very little information to draw upon when confronted with the actual marriage bed. McEwan did a wonderful job of setting the mood - fear, anxiety, anticipation, bewilderment, caution, love, caring - and I kept hoping for more than I got. I got involved and felt it a stretch that there could be characters like these two in the 1960's. I would have happily knocked their heads together. Another example of a terrible inability to communicate.

Apr 10, 2015

This is no beach read. On Chesil Beach is a troubling distillation of how two intelligent, thoughtful, well-people meaning can get it wrong. Despite loving each other, Florence and Edward can’t reconcile themselves to a life together for one reason: sex, and their inability to talk about it. I loved this book because I could relate closely to both characters, with a little enjoyable distance provided by the setting of Britain in the early 60‘s, and ethos and expectations of the era that frayed their connection beyond mending. I was shocked, relieved, and saddened by the unexpected climax and denouement . This is the first McEwan I’ve read, and I don’t feel that I have a real sense for him as a writer, mostly because I forgot all about him. Florence and Edward were real people, living their untidy lives on the page.

WVMLStaffPicks Feb 01, 2015

In 1962, a young English couple book into the inn at Chesil Beach. As the tragedy of their wedding night plays out, the reader witnesses their past and future.

Dec 04, 2014

A fascinating little study of British social mores of the early 60s and the destructive power of sexual repression.

Dec 01, 2014

I was prompted to read this book because it was on the reading list for my book group. I didn't like it when I started reading, but the tight, emotionally charged narrative soon captivated me. By the time I finished, I was in awe that McEwan packed so much emotional depth into just 200 pages. The story is sad, but poignant. This short book packs a lot of character development and emotional power.

Nov 20, 2014

oh this is a sad little book. a great in-depth portrayal of how little 2 people in love can understand each other. communication is key people!

Jul 15, 2013

read it the first time about 8 years ago. always stuck with me. read it again recently. better the first time. british. typical mcewan. excellent.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Jun 16, 2011

Iridollae thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Mar 12, 2008

ladyhawk thinks this title is suitable for

Nov 09, 2007

pod thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add Notices
Mar 12, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings

ELPL owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top