It was some time ago since Book and Booze Club read this one. And I'm starting to think, since commencing these reviews from the past two years, that the true test of a great read can be found in the feelings it evokes after the passing of time.
Just picking up 'On Chesil Beach' and holding it's hard back cover in my hands again, has genuinely transferred a reflective, quiet calmness. Considering I've just ranted to my hearts content minutes ago when reviewing that insidious tea and biscuit book, this is quite a turn around in emotional disposition.
A pre-re-read catharsis perhaps.
Ian McEwan is an absolute gift. He constructs 'On Chesil Beach' with such uncomfortable, familiar, beautiful, universally observed tension. It is compelling and whilst a cliche, I actually couldn't put it down and finished it cover to cover in one session.
Book Club Experience:
It always amuses me, at the risk of sounding like a dated, Derridean post-modern moron, how a novel - like music and art - becomes infused with meanings embedded by our own contexts, therefore is experienced, even if in just a small way, differently every time.
It is a stormy night tonight and I plan to snuggle up and re-read 'On Chesil Beach', only this time I will have memory traces of our book club discussion shaping and altering my experience.
One of the ladies drew links - with some necessary speculation - between the fictional Edward and Florence and her own parents marriage - and subsequent divorce - at a similar historical time. This shared book club hypothesising by a daughter, which could really only have been enriched through the voices of her mother or father, imbued this story with even more poignancy and relevance.
'On Chesil Beach' is indeed the story of Edward and Florence.
But bring it to Book Club and I'd be surprised if it doesn't become the story of stories.
No flippancy in this blog today.
Book and Booze Club rating; Five Full to the Brim Glasses.
'On Chesil Beach' techy, speccy, blurby bit.
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (3 Jan 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099512793
- ISBN-13: 978-0099512790
On Chesil Beach is another masterwork from Ian McEwan - a story about how the entire course of a life can be changed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.