Monday, June 25, 2007
On Chesil Beach captured my heart and my imagination.
McEwan creates magic in each one of his books with his writing style, his descriptive prose and his ability to convey what his characters are thinking and make them real. From a single, poignant event he weaves engrossing tales encompassing past, present and future.
In this latest novel, two young people on their wedding night are set on a collision course. Both are virgins. One is eagerly anticipating the momentous occasion, the other is filled with dread, and, yes, aversion.
The story is set in England in the 60’s – in the years before that decade embraced free love, before the sexual revolution occurred. The thought of two virgins in the 60’s may have you shaking your head in disbelief. McEwan makes it believable by his empathetic and detailed account of their past lives. These young people are the products of both the times and their upbringing.
We are made privy to their jumbled thoughts, emotions, fears and desires so that the question, “How did they ever reach such a tragic impasse?” is answered.
This is a story of moments lost forever – opportunities to make one’s truth heard, misinterpretation of another’s tone and responding in kind rather than saying the words that are in your heart.
Their inability to communicate has tragic consequences. They are incapable of finding the words to heal, to bridge their differences.
Love is not enough without the words to express who you are, your desires, your fears and your needs.
I so admire McEwan’s ability to capture time, place and character with his amazing command of language and detail.
On Chesil Beach is a masterful and moving piece of work by an author whose books I love. And I am always eagerly anticipating his next “gift.”