book cover of On Chesil Beach
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On Chesil Beach

(2007)
A novel by

 
 
Awards
British Book Award Book of the Year
Booker Prize Best Novel (nominee)
The year is 1962. Florence, the daughter of a successful businessman and an aloof Oxford academic, is a talented musician. She dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, the earnest young history student she met by chance and who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Edward grew up in the country on the outskirts of Oxford, where his father, the headmaster of the local school, struggled to keep the household together and his mother, brain-damaged in an accident, drifted in a world of her own. Edward's native intelligence, coupled with a longing to experience the excitement and intellectual fervor of the city, had taken him to University College in London. Falling in love with the accomplished, shy, and sensitive Florence - and having his affections returned with equal intensity - has utterly changed his life. Their marriage, they believe, will bring them happiness and the confidence to fulfill their true destinies. The glowing promise of the future, however, cannot totally mask their worries about the wedding night. Edward, who has had little experience with women, frets about his sexual prowess. Florence's anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by conflicting emotions and a fear of the moment she will surrender herself to her husband in their honeymoon suite.

From the precise and intimate depiction of two young lovers eager to rise above the hurts and confusion of the past, to the touching story of how their unexpressed misunderstandings and resentments shape the rest of their lives, ON CHESIL BEACH is an extraordinary exploration of how the entire course of a life can be changed—by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

Genre: Literary Fiction

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