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On Chesil Beach Audiobook

On Chesil Beach

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the British Book Awards, Author of the Year and Book of the Year, 2008.
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2007.
Shortlisted for the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.

It is June 1962. In a hotel on the Dorset coast, overlooking Chesil Beach, Edward and Florence, just married that morning, are sitting down to dinner in their room. Neither is entirely able to suppress anxieties about the wedding night to come.

On Chesil Beach is another masterwork from Ian McEwan - a story about how the entire course of a life can be changed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

This download is unabridged and is read by the author. This is the first time Ian has read his own audio and it is a brilliant, authoritative, read. The download also features an in depth interview with Ian McEwan about On Chesil Beach. He is interviewed by John Mullan, Professor of English at UCL.

©2007 Ian McEwan; (P)Random House Audio
Excerpts taken from String Quintet in D major, K.593 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Licensed by kind permission of Naxos Rights International Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Focusing with hyper-acute attentiveness on just two hours or so (Saturday, with its one-day time-span looks shabby in comparison), the book tightens even further McEwan�s consummate powers of close up... Clean of sprawl and clutter - not a word, incident or image seems slackly placed - the book never hardens into the schematic... Edward and Florence are intensely likeable, believable people into whose personalities and predicaments a wealth of imaginative sympathy has welled." (The Sunday Times)
"McEwan's masterful 13th work of fiction most resembles a five-part classical drama rendered in prose....[His] flawless omniscient narration has a curious (and not unpleasantly condescending) fable-like quality, as if an older self were simultaneously disavowing and affirming a younger." (Publishers Weekly)
"Ian McEwan chose to release his own unabridged audiobook reading of his new novel On Chesil Beach to coincide with the publication and to match the price of the book itself, even giving the audiobook the added value of an illuminating half-hour interview with John Mullan, the English literature professor. Does this herald a new trend in publishing, or does it reflect the peculiar suitability of this particular novel to the audio medium? A bit of both is the answer. New books are frequently published at the same time as audiobook versions, but not all novelists write books that suit the medium. In the interview after the novel, McEwan explains that he likes reading them aloud in draft to live audiences, using their reactions to hone his final version. He also likes the 'enclosed, uninterrupted experience' of reading a novella from beginning to end... Listening non-stop to McEwan reading intensifies the book's impact." (The Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (241 )
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3.9 (79 )
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4.1 (79 )
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  •  
    Joan WatfordUnited Kingdom 14/04/2007
    Joan WatfordUnited Kingdom 14/04/2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Perfection!."

    I don't think anyone else but Ian McEwen could have pulled off this poignant little story of a honeymoon night. As always with Ian, right from the beginning you have a feeling almost of dread about what is about to happen. You would really rather not know, but the author casts such a spell with his words that you are unable to break free. Unflinching, honest and touching, this is exquisitely well written, and also beautifully read by the author. His voice is soothing and reassuring, even as he makes you squirm with discomfort! The book is set in that long ago period just before the sixties started swinging and that era is perfectly recreated. This audiobook is short enough to devour in one sitting, and I would urge you to do just that.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris London, United Kingdom 14/05/2007
    chris London, United Kingdom 14/05/2007 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting observation on the human condition"

    Short but effective exposition of relationships, expectations and communications (or lack thereof) in post-war Britain, prior to the sexual revolution of the sixties. Seen through the eyes of two caricatures who had me alternately squirming and chuckling as I recognised aspects of their uncomfortable behaviour.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LTFS 22/05/2007
    LTFS 22/05/2007 Member Since 2015

    laurence_fowler

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    "A natural successor to Greene and Golding"

    As if there was ever any serious doubt, Ian McEwan's 'On Chesil Beach' clearly establishes his reputation once and for all as the greatest English novelilst since the deaths of Graham Greene and William Golding. He is sharper than Julian Barnes, more aware of life's strangeness than Sarah Waters and he tackles deeper themes than Joanne Harris. All these are great writers, but McEwan is head and shoulders above them.

    'On Chesil Beach' is an extraordinarily risky undertaking for a novellist at what some mistakenly believe is at his best (they're wrong, of course: there's better to come). Given the critics' passion for rubbishing a popular intellectual, had this flopped, there would have been the usual British celebration of failure after triumph. McEwan must have been aware of that risk, but, as a true artist, he wrote what he needed to write, regardless, I suppose, of the reaction of readers. And that's exactly as it should be. Golding did it with 'Darkness Visible', Greene did it with everything after 'The Heart of the Matter'.

    What is a surprise - and a wholly pleasant one, I hasten to add - is how good McEwan is at reading his novel. And the interview after the reading is fascinating, too.

    All in all, a treat of the first order.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Guy Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdon, United Kingdom 03/05/2007
    Guy Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdon, United Kingdom 03/05/2007
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    "What has happened to him?"

    Ian McEwan used to be the most dependable of authors, but his last two books have been so... slight. This is an enjoyable novella while it's going on but it's more of a fragment than a proper story. Take five years over the next one and give us a novel as rich and complete as Atonement, please.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BillyBlackBear South Wales 31/07/2014
    BillyBlackBear South Wales 31/07/2014 Member Since 2013
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    "Increadably Moving"

    I was completely drawn into this beautiful account of the tender moments between two newly weds desperate to be together but afraid to break with the claustrophobic demands of society and convention to say what they really feel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom 24/12/2012
    Mrs NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom 24/12/2012 Member Since 2012
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    "An unforgettable read"

    This is the second book by Ian McEwan that I have read. As with Enduring Love the excruciating detail of human interaction lingers in the mind long after finishing the book. I really enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Potten End, United Kingdom 28/01/2011
    Andrew Potten End, United Kingdom 28/01/2011 Member Since 2010
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    "Not to be missed"

    Surely this is one of the most spellbinding yet excruciating pieces of prose that you could possibly listen to. The onner working of the characters minds is laid bare for the reader to empathise with and despair. McEwan reads it himself very effectively. The story is a sad one that leaves you thinking and the interview with McEwan that follows is enlightening in terms of hearing him explain the thought process behind some aspects of the tale. This really is not to be missed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mirium 24/03/2009
    Mirium 24/03/2009
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    "Enjoyable but annoying"

    I enjoyed listening to this, although it was nothing like as good as some of McEwan's earlier works. He kept going on about how it was the times they lived in that were the root of Florence and Edward's problems - but hey, most people somehow managed to get it together in the dim days of the 1950's and 60's (even my parents!), so I think it was more a case of them just being silly and feeble. In fact, by the end of the book, I really disliked both of them, and was glad that neither ended up with particularly satisfactory lives.
    There were some wonderfully evocative descriptions of place, especially where Florence goes to meet Edward at Turville, and the depiction of her parents' house. It's this beautiful writing that kept me listening instead of tearing out my earpieces in annoyance at the protagonists' behaviour. Ian McEwan read it brilliantly - I always like it when an author reads their own work.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Hampton, Middx, United Kingdom 23/09/2008
    Robert Hampton, Middx, United Kingdom 23/09/2008 Member Since 2014
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    "An evocative glimpse"

    Captures the atmosphere and the social mores of the time beautifully. A reminder that not all of the sixties were swinging!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Whitehead 29/08/2016 Member Since 2015
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    "On Acheson Beach"

    A brilliant tale, so well narrated by the author. The discussion at the end is an added bonus and something that might be done more often by audible. It was all very enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Terri
    Cairns, Australia
    07/03/11
    Overall
    "difficult to believe"

    well written and narated by Ian McEwan. Difficult to accept outcome of couple. I feel all couples have issues and difficulties that they have to over come. Love usually gets them through. I found it hard to accept this couple's decision.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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