Saturday, 18 August 2007

Don't read this if you want to read On Chesil Beach!!! It'll ruin the ending.

Political Umpire is angry with Alexander Chancellor. As a by the by, at the end of his article, Alexander says of On Chesil Beach: "A tragic lesson in how sexual anxiety can destroy a perfect relationship." He clearly enjoyed the book more than me (see post below).

I read Part Three this afternoon. At the heart of the story is a moment of premature ejaculation. This is the turning point: it is after this, and an argument on the beach, that the newly weds go their separate ways, never to see each other again. Strangely, after taking over a hundred pages to describe the moments leading up to the premature ejaculation, Ian McEwan describes the next thirty to forty years in a few pages. It feels very rushed.

But there is a line in the book I love. Edward is rushing to undress before having sex with his new wife: He trod on the backs of his shoes to wrench them from his feet, and snatched his socks off with quick jabs of his thumbs.

I love the jabs of the thumbs.

10 comments:

Merkin said...

Rule is : take your shoes and socks off in plenty of time.
Otherwise you end up looking like an extra in a Brian Rix farce.
Simple.

NMJ said...

Well, the character has good reason to be rushing, it is quite an interesting scenario, but the writing just bores me.

Merkin said...

Oooops, sorreeee.
Mischevious tonight.

Political Umpire said...

Thanks so much for linking to my intemperance, NMJ, though as my mother might say you're only encouraging me ...

I must admit I rarely find time for fiction. I don't suppose if I did, that my tastes would coincide with his ...

NMJ said...

Hey P.U, I just realised this novel's been longlisted for the Man Booker, so that's me told.

Political Umpire said...

Yeah, but Dances with Wolves won a load of Oscars, and I'd recomment it about as much as falling naked into a sewer seven times.

Political Umpire said...

And, in the popularity contest known as the US election, need I remind you of the most recent winner ...

NMJ said...

I've never seen D w Ws, I've heard it's a bit silly.

I have read Booker winners before, & other winners of big prizes, and just thought, What is all the fuss about?

I am possibly not the best judge, crap concentration, fairly impatient, but there is nothing more wonderful than a book grabbing you, really grabbing you.

I think On Chesil Beach would've worked better as a long short story, if he'd made it all around the sexual act, & got rid of the stuff about family or background.

I just read a few pages of I'm Off by Jean Echenoz, and I love it.

That's so pants said...

Hi NMJ

Did you read the article about McEwan in the Guardian on Saturday? He told the story about how he'd taken a couple of pebbles from Chesil Beach to keep on his desk during the writing and was threated with a £2,000 fine by the local authority unless he returned them. I wonder if the repatriation was supervised. I'd better not mention the tiny piece of marble I picked up off the ground at Olympia or the little chip of clay I got from Efeses then.

xxx

Pants

NMJ said...

hey pants, yes, i saw the article. do you like his books?

x