On Chesil Beach is a novel by English author Ian McEwen. Although it was short listed for the Booker Prize, I didn't read it when it came out in 2007. To tell the truth, I am usually about five years behind when it comes to seeking out new fiction, and I usually don't like books that are popular or award winners. I had never read any of McEwen's work, until now.
The story is about life, intimacy, sex, duty, loss, misunderstanding, and wasted opportunity. What I love about this novel is the prose:
After days of rain, the air was thick with the abundance of early summer - the din of birds and insects, the scent of mown grass lying in rows in from of the cottage, the thrusting, yearning tangle of the garden, almost inseparable from the woodland fringe, beyond the picket fence, pollen bringing father and son the season's first taste of hay fever, and on the lawn at their feet, tiles of sunlight and shade rocking together in a light breeze. (86)
I tell you for me that sentence is like a long, luxurious kiss in which a person feels no need to think or breathe. I just love that kind of stuff! The book itself is a very short read, being only 5x8 inches in width and length and double spaced throughout. On Chesil Beach is sad, but rich and beautiful. Enjoy.
McEwan, Ian. On Chesil Beach. New York: Nan A. Talese, 2007.