Nic ~ On Chesil Beach

11 01 2010

On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan

I previously really enjoyed Ian McEwan’s work, Atonement.  So, I decided that I would take a crack at another one of his works.

Focusing on the wedding night of a newly married couple, it takes us along on the tormented ride as they try to navigate through the expectations of one another as a spouse, and their perceived duties to one another.

The book is a short read, but nonetheless, chock full of emotion.  Moving from trepidation and confusion, to determined and vigilant, to joy and then to pain and bitterness, McEwan certainly does a good job in catching all the fleeting human emotions that pass through one.  As the short story deepens, you begin to learn about the husband and wife’s lives before one another, and beginning to understand the delicate balance in which they exist, you begin to see the heavily weighted string upon which everything is dangling for these two.

I found this story to be very interesting and powerful.  It reflects on different times, when men and women alike were quiet about sex, kept in the dark, and refrained from discussing it in any way (although a note here, interestingly enough, this book spares no details, some of which I found to be unnecessary, but I can be a bit of a prude sometimes.  I can see how the author would deem them necessary to tell the story as he wanted to).  Now a days, the very opposite seems to be true.  From a young age, boys and girls alike know things that worry me to think about, things that young minds cannot at all fully comprehend, let alone deal with emotionally.  This book pushes that idea forward, dealing with how different experiences change people, making me think that neither that period of time, nor the current one have gone about it in the best of ways.  An answer to repression is often to be liberated.  I took away that in life, neither approach really seems to win over a situation.

An interesting read, but possibly not for all.