Thursday, February 26, 2009

Briefly and perfectly told

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

I've been meaning to read McEwan forever. So many books, so little time. On Chesil Beach was the perfect solution. It can be easily read in a sitting.

It is the story of Edward and Florence on their wedding night on the British coast in 1962. Almost all of the action takes place in that one evening, with flashbacks that tell the tale of these two young people's lives and the entire history of their relationship. They're both so young, and innocent and scared. Even though 1962 isn't that much before my time, reading this book it felt like a period drama from another century. It was a different world.

It became immediately obvious what everyone says is true. McEwan writes beautifully, just beautifully, but the novel is not especially difficult or challenging. What impressed me the most was how concisely but fully he told his story. Highly recommended.

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