Saturday, July 21, 2007

summer reading

Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach is a writing of precision and restraint. A period piece carefully recorded by a contemporary historian of the heart. Concentrated in purpose the story explicates the emotional territory of a particular yet universal moment: "They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible." The pace is paradoxically pedestrian and relentless allowing the elegiac ending to leave traces of light regret and melancholy. Somehow the book disappoints. Lacking any verve or daring the final insight, though simple and true, renders unimaginative.

Tim Adams , Colm Tóibín reviews

- See: Novel