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On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

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November 2011 Guest Editor Victoria Hislop selects On Chesil Beach...

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan is a favourite McEwan novel, though I have loved them all. I admire the spareness of his writing - it always seems as if he has written the whole story in his head before he commits it to the page. Nothing is left to chance. The characters are always vivid and memorable - and the plots utterly original and every novel is a surprise. Perhaps I admire this novel most of all his works because of its brevity. It is a huge story in a tiny volume. I admire that skill enormously, to say so much in so few words is a great gift.

Winner of the Book of the Year and Author of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2008.
A heartbreaking novel that is beautifully written. So much can be undone by what is left unsaid and McEwan is a master at conveying this.

Please note that this title is also available in a Large Print edition. Click here to find out more.

If you like Ian McEwan you might also like to read books by Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Frayn and John Lanchester.


On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

It is June 1962. In a hotel on the Dorset coast, overlooking Chesil Beach, Edward and Florence, who got married that morning, are sitting down to dinner in their room. Neither is entirely able to suppress their anxieties about the wedding night to come…

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.

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'A master feat of concentration in both senses of the word' Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

'It is a masterpiece. The very idea that informs it, fascinating and unfamiliar, is masterly' Karl Miller, TLS

'McEwan’s brilliance as a novelist lies in his ability to isolate discrete moments in life and invest them with incredible significance' Tim Adams, Observer

About the Author

Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children's novel illustrated by Anthony Browne. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, The Cement Garden, Enduring Love, Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize, Atonement and Saturday.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd January 2008


Ian McEwan

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176 pages


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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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