On Chesil Beach
Publication Date: June 5, 2007
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BONUS FEATURE: Exclusive interview with the author!
A novel of remarkable depth and poignancy from one of the most acclaimed writers of our time
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.
IAN McEWAN is the author of two collections of stories and ten previous novels, including Enduring Love, Amsterdam, for which he won the Booker Prize in 1998, Atonement, and Saturday.
1. What do the novel's opening lines tell us about Edward and Florence? How did your perceptions of them change throughout the subsequent pages? What details did you eventually know about them that they never fully revealed to one another?
Praise for Saturday
“[McEwan] is the master clockmaster of novelists, piecing together cogs and wheels of his plots with unerring meticulousness.…Finely wrought and shimmering with intelligence…”
—New York Times Book Review
“In Saturday, the marvelously gifted Ian McEwan turns a single day into nearly twenty-four hours emblematic of an entire era.”
“McEwan is supremely gifted.…Saturday is a tour de force.”
—Washington Post Book World
“McEwan is in the first tier of novelists writing in English today.…He has achieved a complete mastery of his craft.”
—New York Observer
“Impeccable…Beautifully crafted…Fluid, richly textured…Engrossing.”
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For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org