Monday, December 17, 2007

Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach

Seems I pick up so many books these days--for the show, mostly--that I just can get into. I don't know if it's me or the book. Probably a combination of both.

But I have read one that I loved: On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan's new book. It's received mixed reviews, and I think part of the problem is that it's a book for older readers who've made choices that in retrospect may not have been the best choice.

If you haven't read the book and plan to, then don't read on. What's to come is a SPOILER of sorts.

But the main character, Edward, makes a decision on Chesil Beach that changes the course of his life, that he regrets to his dying day, and realizes if he hadn't been stubborn, if he'd reached out to Florence, if he'd been more patient and loving, he might have lived out his days with the girl of his dreams. But he wasn't.

I don't think younger readers can relate to that and maybe that was the problem. When you're young, you think you'll live your life with no regrets, that the choices you make are all valid, good ones. And later you find that perhaps not all of them were.

So what are you reading that you love? I ask this question a lot, don't I?

4 comments:

Amy Timberlake said...

I just read WELCOME TO HARD TIMES by E.L. Doctorow and LOVED it. I'd never read it before, and I felt like a book was the perfect form for this story -- it wouldn't work as well as a movie, or a play or anything else.

And I'm looking forward to Molly Gloss's latest -- I usually love her books, especially how they seem to transcend genres (though this one doesn't look like it well -- from what I hear it's about a female horse whisperer).

Jim Murdoch said...

The only book I've read recently that I could say I've loved was one I read many years ago when I was too young to fully appreciate it; it was Camus' Transparent Things. You can read my review of it at Goodreads.

At the moment I've just started Jai Clare's The Cusp of Something which my wife pressed on me. I've only read the first two stories and a bit of the third but the book is holding me. You can read a recent review of it at The Fix. I can agree quite happily with the reviewer's comments on the first three stories and the rest of the review hasn't discouraged me from finishing it.

AmyS. said...

Recently finished "A Thousand Splendid Suns", which I LOVED. I envy Hosseini's use of words and imagery. I often read passages from this book and The Kite Runner to inspire my writing. Then I slogged through "Love in the Time of Cholera" which I'd put off reading for years. Guess I'm not very 'literate'. Hard book for me to get through yet I know it's often required reading in graduate level lit courses. What am I missing??

avb said...

The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan. It comes out next month. I was so into it, I read it in one night!