Ian McEwan is such a frequently-mentioned author that I figured I had to read something by him eventually. I didn’t find the brilliance that everyone talks about in ON CHESIL BEACH, but that’s not to say it was bad.
I think its problem was mainly its length. McEwan attempts to interweave a snapshot of a couple’s honeymoon with memories of how they met and how their relationship progressed up until that point. In less than two hundred pages, though, it’s just very difficult to like the characters. McEwan didn’t manage to engage me in their lives. I was interested in what was happening to them, but I think the book never breaks the barrier and allows the reader to feel for them. Instead they just remain oddities, too foreign from my own experience to gain empathy. In fact, I didn’t feel anything until the last few pages of the book, which I don’t think was the idea.
I still liked it though. As a little snapshot of what could have happened to one couple in the age of inexperience and hushed proprieties, it was interesting. I just never felt like the characters could have existed. I think I’ll try Atonement at some point in the future and see if this author is worth reading again.