Reading On Chesil Beach

Just a short post tonight to say that I’m about 3/4 of the way through Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, and I’m finding it quite hard to put down.  I know what it’s all about, I know the whole plot and all the background, and I know what tons of reviewers have said about it.  Normally this would turn me off of a book.  I do get tired of reading reviews of the same books over and over again and sometimes it gets to the point where even though the book might have initially sounded quite good, I won’t read it, because I feel like I already have.  But when I saw On Chesil Beach in the library, I grabbed it, and here I am gobbling it up (after Hobgoblin did the same thing; here’s his review).  It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a book that has made me want to abandon all my other books until I finish it — not that it takes very long to finish McEwan’s book, as it’s a very quick 200 pages.


Filed under Books, Fiction, Reading

16 responses to “Reading On Chesil Beach

  1. Oh what fun! I love it when a book so captures me I can’t put it down. Enjoy!


  2. Cam

    I couldn’t put it down either. McEwan is so good at the small details that are everyday in their occurrence but extraordinary in the description. I’m reading another McEwan book right now and while his observational skills are just as good, it doesn’t have the same effect of my not wanting to put it down as On Chesil Beach did.


  3. hepzibah

    I love a good, light read now and then, its nice to have a break, and not have to think so much. However, after reading Hobgoblin’s review, I am not sure that the book is for me…I try to stay away from the post-modernists (is he postmodernist?)I guess…


  4. I have a quick solution to your problem: don’t read so many reviews. Or at least not before reading the book. It is interesting to hear many peoples opinions, but as you said, it taints your reading experience.

    I think the “What if everyone read the same book?” programs are interesting; encouraging everyone to read at the same time and inspire discussion afterwards.

    Have fun curling up with your book.


  5. I was the same with Chesil Beach. The whole world stopped and I got lost in McEwan’s wonderful prose. My reaction at the end was, “I want more.”


  6. I couldn’t put this one down either – I loved it and hope it wins the Booker Prize. “Saturday” is another one of McEwan’s that I just couldn’t put down.


  7. I loved this as well, despite the fact that I had a copy of the first edition that had an anachronism in it that was actually destructive in terms of the main theme. A friend, who has the third edition, says that the problem passage has been changed, so I hope that’s the one you have.


  8. All right, I’ve got to hurry up and get all my books unpacked, so I can find this one.


  9. I’m glad you are enjoying it! I had mixed feelings but I think it was due to reading so much about it before hand. I had heard so many other opinions about it. I did like it, though there were some painful moments, and maybe too much detail in a way. I think I’d like to read it again some time later on after it’s faded from my mind.


  10. Stefanie — I DID enjoy it; I finished last night. I’ll post about it soon.

    Cam — Yes, the details! He manages those wonderfully, making the most out of a few things. The food, for example, was described perfectly and added to the mood and themes.

    Hepzibah — well, the book may not be for you (I don’t know, but I’ll take your word for it), but I don’t think I’d call McEwan a postmodernist. His fiction is pretty straightforward and traditional. But still, this may not be the book for everybody.

    Bikkuri — you’re so logical! Yes, that would make perfect sense. But I do like reading reviews and sometimes can’t seem to stay away … perhaps I should try harder.

    Charlotte — Yes! I wanted more too (and the epilogue wasn’t terribly satisfying). But mostly I wanted to stay in the mood of the book.

    BooksPlease — well, I haven’t gotten to Saturday yet, although I’d read other McEwan, including Atonement, Amsterdam, and Enduring Love. I think Atonement is my favorite, but On Chesil Beach is a close second.

    Ann — now you’ve got me curious about what the anachronism is! Very good that they fixed it; I certainly didn’t notice anything, but I wouldn’t necessarily notice it.

    Emily — yes, do, so I can hear what you think about it!

    Danielle, it’s so hard to read something and really know what you think when you have so many opinions floating around in your head. And yes, I found it painful too, although a good kind of painful if that makes sense.


  11. Yes, actually it does make sense. Considering the time and place and situation it was meant to be that way, and he certainly did a great job evoking those feelings!


  12. OK Dorothy, reader of reviews, a package arrived from my mother today containing “The Whistling Season” by Ivan Doig. I have never read any of his works. What do you think of the author and this book?

    I think she sent it to me because a teacher travels to a far away land and uses unorthodox methods. Some parallels to my life could be drawn. Sorry if this is off-topic.


  13. Bikkuri — you’re making me feel as though I don’t read enough reviews because I’m not familiar with that book OR author! Sorry! 🙂


  14. This is Ivan Doig’s eleventh book. He holds a PhD in history. I have heard his name bandied about, but that may have something to do with the fact that I am from the Seattle area. I gather from your reaction that he is not in ‘the canon’. 🙂

    I’m sorry about all previous comments regarding review reading saturation. 😉


  15. Ah, thanks for the info. He sounds interesting, in fact. No apologies! 🙂


  16. I never read any reviews until after I read a book. I tend to be like Gilligan where he agrees with one person until the next person says something then he agrees with them as in: “I agree with MaryAnn, no I agree with Ginger” and so on.

    Having said that. I loved On Chesil Beach and couldn’t put it down. It was a great way to spend a few hours.


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