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I think media, TV serials and movie have made “first night” such a big romanticized affair that people spend many a night anticipating that single night when you will be alone with your spouse, with all legal and religious rights to consummate your marriage – that is start living as husband and wife. This scene has been immortalized by umpteen movie scenes and if you watch Indian movies, there could never be anything much more romantic.
Leave all the movie scenes, what does really happen during that night? Well, I believe that could the best kept secret among most couples, may be because they don’t want to lose the sacredness of that first day or may because they don’t want to let anyone know how much different it was from what they envisioned it to be !
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan is all about two hours during the wedding night of an inexperienced couple – Edward and Florence who lived in the 1960s.Their inexperience makes them dread what is to come; and the era they lived didn’t call for honest communication even between married couples. For an outward show they put up a calm and tranquil posture, though they are dreading the moment when they will finally be together as husband and wife. What are the thoughts that are going through their minds? Do you think that this premise is an occasion where your real self is to be revealed to another human being and you feel too vulnerable thinking about how the other person will be judging you?
I know that the theme of the story doesn’t look appealing to most of you. But that is where the impressive talent of Ian McEwan comes into picture. Through the narration of this two hours, he takes each of us deep into the lives of Edward and Florence and explains to us why they are in the current situation as they have found themselves on their wedding night. Such easy narration with flawless talent to suck the reader into the world of Edward and Florence is commendable.
Reading On Chesil Beach was an amazing experience. I was awed by the way the author has written down thoughts about both of the couple. Such profound understanding of the intricacies of the human mind was just unbelievable to me..
Verdict: Don’t bother about the theme. Just grab the book and discover how amazing Ian McEwan is. I am just awed by this book.
And here is another perfect review of the book by Nishita from Nishita’s Rants and Raves.
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