On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan On Chesil Beach is more of a novella than a novel and tells the story of Florence and Edward on their wedding night in 1962. Despite being very much in love, they have never broached the subject of sex and both are anxious for different reasons - Edward has performance anxiety and Florence is repulsed by the idea of sexual contact. As the night goes on, the effects of their lack of communication become clear.I loved this little book. It was one of those books where not much happens and the characters are very ordinary, but McEwan has a real gift for observing emotions and human relations. Whilst reading I felt as though I was inside the heads of both Edward and Florence, but especially Florence. Weighed down by concern about how she 'should' act and behave, Florence can't help but make things worse for herself;"She seized his hand and led him towards the bed. It was perverse of her, insane even, when she wanted to run from the room, across the gardens and down the lane, onto the beach to sit alone. But her sense of duty was painfully strong and she could not resist it. She could not bear to let Edward down." p33"Sex with Edward could not be the summation of her joy, but was the price she must pay for it." p9McEwan wrote simply, but somehow managed to pack more emotional impact into this short book than some authors manage in much longer works. I found myself rooting for Florence and Edward, and wanting to reach into the book and shake them when they were failing to communicate. It wasn't a happy book, and McEwan seemed to highlight how easily happiness can be dispersed and how emotions (especially pride) and events can get in the way. I could feel the awkwardness and emotions radiating from the characters. It was also nice to read a book in which sex was treated realistically, rather than over the top and always perfect.