Some thoughts on ‘On Chesil Beach’

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[A beautiful image: Florence (Saoirse Ronan) sitting along a stretch of beach on a rotten rowboat, entirely alone; as the camera pans back, Edward (Billy Howle) slowly approaches — in another shot, he is strikingly turned away. More striking, is the quiet dignity in Florence’s face…]

I had trepidation going to see On Chesil Beach. Despite the dire turn McEwan has taken in recent years regarding his literary output, On Chesil Beach is one of my favourite books I’ve read over the past few years. An extraordinarily concise, contained novella depicting a couple on their wedding night, on the *brink* of the sexual revolution of the 60s, who lack the very vocabulary to describe how they feel, how they urge (or don’t) and how to save themselves, their relationship and one another. I fretted awfully, a white wine in hand, that the very insular nature of the novel would be lost somehow in this film adaptation, directed by Dominic Cooke.

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