by Laura Mclellan

On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan

Atonement, one of McEwan’s earlier works, has long been one of my favourite books and so I’m always ready to try another title from the renowned British author. Despite being fewer then 40,000 words, and therefore technically a novella, On Chesil Beach was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 2007.

The majority of the story takes place on the wedding night of Edward Mayhew, a bright young history student, and Florence Ponting, a promising young violinist. Written from their two different perspectives, McEwan gives readers an omniscient view of what should be the happiest night of their lives.

The misunderstandings, misinterpretations and wrongful assumptions from both parties arise from the cleverly-chosen backdrop of middle class, 1960s Britain. Whilst Edward represents the sexual liberty and revolution sweeping the working classes, Florence is resolutely bound by the staunch, stiff-upper-lip social codes of the upper classes.

A very interesting read: at times comic, at times heart breaking!

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  1. Read it years ago, thought it was excellent.

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