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On Chesil Beach [Format Kindle]

Ian McEwan
3.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (10 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

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Such is Ian McEwan's genius that, despite rambling nature walks and the naming of birds, his subject matter remains hermetically sealed in the hearts of two people.

It is 1962 when Edward and Florence, 23 and 22 respectively, marry and repair to a hotel on the Dorset coast for their honeymoon. They are both virgins, both apprehensive about what's next and in Florence's case, utterly and blindly terrified and repelled by the little she knows. Through a tense dinner in their room, because Florence has decided that the weather is not fine enough to dine on the terrace, they are attended by two local boys acting as waiters. The cameo appearances of the boys and Edward and Florence's parents and siblings serve only to underline the emotional isolation of the two principals. Florence says of herself: "...she lacked some simple mental trick that everyone else had, a mechanism so ordinary that no one ever mentioned it, an immediate sensual connection to people and events, and to her own needs and desires...."

They are on the cusp of a rather ordinary marital undertaking in differing states of readiness, willingness and ardor. McEwan says: "Where he merely suffered conventional first-night nerves, she experienced a visceral dread, a helpless disgust as palpable as seasickness." Edward, having denied himself even the release of self-pleasuring for a week, in order to be tip-top for Florence, is mentally pawing the ground. His sensitivity keeps him from being obvious, but he is getting anxious. Florence, on the other hand, knows that she is not capable of the kind of arousal that will make any of this easy. She has held Edward off for a year, and now the reckoning is upon her.

McEwan is the master of the defining moment, that place and time when, once it has taken place, nothing will ever be the same after it. It does not go well and Florence flees the room. "As she understood it, there were no words to name what had happened, there existed no shared language in which two sane adults could describe such events to each other." Edward eventually follows her and they have a poignant and painful conversation where accusations are made, ugly things are said and roads are taken from which, in the case of these two, the way back cannot be found. Late in Edward's life he realizes: "Love and patience--if only he had them both at once--would surely have seen them both through." This beautifully told sad story could have been conceived and written only by Ian McEwan. --Valerie Ryan

Extrait

ONE

They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They had just sat down to supper in a tiny sitting room on the first floor of a Georgian inn. In the next room, visible through the open door, was a four-poster bed, rather narrow, whose bedcover was pure white and stretched startlingly smooth, as though by no human hand. Edward did not mention that he had never stayed in a hotel before, whereas Florence, after many trips as a child with her father, was an old hand. Superficially, they were in fine spirits. Their wedding, at St Mary’s, Oxford, had gone well; the service was decorous, the reception jolly, the send-off from school and college friends raucous and uplifting. Her parents had not condescended to his, as they had feared, and his mother had not significantly misbehaved, or completely forgotten the purpose of the occasion. The couple had driven away in a small car belonging to Florence’s mother and arrived in the early evening at their hotel on the Dorset coast in weather that was not perfect for mid July or the circumstances, but entirely adequate: it was not raining, but nor was it quite warm enough, according to Florence, to eat outside on the terrace as they had hoped. Edward thought it was, but, polite to a fault, he would not think of contradicting her on such an evening.

So they were eating in their rooms before the partially open French windows that gave onto a balcony and a view of a portion of the English Channel, and Chesil Beach with its infinite shingle. Two youths in dinner jackets served them from a trolley parked outside in the corridor, and their comings and goings through what was generally known as the honeymoon suite made the waxed oak boards squeak comically against the silence. Proud and protective, the young man watched closely for any gesture or expression that might have seemed satirical. He could not have tolerated any sniggering. But these lads from a nearby village went about their business with bowed backs and closed faces, and their manner was tentative, their hands shook as they set items down on the starched linen tablecloth. They were nervous too.

This was not a good moment in the history of English cuisine, but no one much minded at the time, except visitors from abroad. The formal meal began, as so many did then, with a slice of melon decorated by a single glazed cherry. Out in the corridor, in silver dishes on candle-heated plate warmers, waited slices of long-ago roasted beef in a thickened gravy, soft boiled vegetables, and potatoes of a bluish hue. The wine was from France, though no particular region was mentioned on the label, which was embellished with a solitary, darting swallow. It would not have crossed Edward’s mind to order a red.

Desperate for the waiters to leave, he and Florence turned in their chairs to consider the view of a broad mossy lawn, and beyond, a tangle of flowering shrubs and trees clinging to a steep bank that descended to a lane that led to the beach. They could see the beginnings of a footpath, dropping by muddy steps, a way lined by weeds of extravagant size — giant rhubarb and cabbages they looked like, with swollen stalks more than six feet tall, bending under the weight of dark, thick-veined leaves. The garden vegetation rose up, sensuous and tropical in its profusion, an effect heightened by the grey, soft light and a delicate mist drifting in from the sea, whose steady motion of advance and withdrawal made sounds of gentle thunder, then sudden hissing against the pebbles. Their plan was to change into rough shoes after supper and walk on the shingle between the sea and the lagoon known as the Fleet, and if they had not finished the wine, they would take that along, and swig from the bottle like gentlemen of the road.

And they had so many plans, giddy plans, heaped up before them in the misty future, as richly tangled as the summer flora of the Dorset coast, and as beautiful. Where and how they would live, who their close friends would be, his job with her father’s firm, her musical career and what to do with the money her father had given her, and how they would not be like other people, at least, not inwardly. This was still the era — it would end later in that famous decade — when to be young was a social encumbrance, a mark of irrelevance, a faintly embarrassing condition for which marriage was the beginning of a cure. Almost strangers, they stood, strangely together, on a new pinnacle of existence, gleeful that their new status promised to promote them out of their endless youth — Edward and Florence, free at last! One of their favourite topics was their childhoods, not so much the pleasures as the fog of comical misconceptions from which they had emerged, and the various parental errors and outdated practices they could now forgive.


From the Hardcover edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 230 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 226 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage Digital (20 janvier 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0099512793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099512790
  • ASIN: B00354YA4U
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (10 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°74.504 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires en ligne

Commentaires client les plus utiles
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 J'ai adoré 9 février 2009
Format:Broché
Un McEwan typique - on retrouve des thèmes similaires à Atonement (i.e : comment des vies peuvent être gâchées par des paroles, des actions qui auraient pu être évitées), on se sent proche des personnages, on souffre avec eux.
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6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Merci Ian Mac Ewan 23 septembre 2007
Par David
Format:Relié
Ce livre est une véritable introspection de personnages cadenacés par leurs émotions, pulsions, peurs et leur respect de l'autre. Toutes ces émotions, tellement imbriquées les unes aux autres dans le coeur des jeunes époux, se révèlent être décrites si clairement par l'auteur. Ian Mac Ewan aborde avec tendresse des sujets tabous, l'intensité de la pudeur de ses personnages n'ayant d'égal que leur passionante remise en question le temps d'une nuit.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 On Chesil Beach 26 avril 2014
Par Treefor
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
An excellent book. Very poetic imagery throughout. Brilliant portraits in words of all the main characters. I could understand both points of view of Edward and Forence and the reason why their marriage got off to such a rocky start.

If the lovers had stayed together and worked on their relationship they could have been happy together. Right at the end of the book(on Chesil Beach)Florence waited for Edward to back down from his pomposity and inflated male ego, but Edward missed the opportunity and so they parted. Terribly sad but credible.

I have visited Dorset and know the famous Chesil Beach. To me it is a very eerie place - full of mystery and forboding.
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3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Subtilité 7 avril 2009
Par Sophie
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Ce roman se déguste avec un parfum des 50's...sans être mièvre..l'auteur se place dans l'état d'esprit de jeunes adultes dans les années 50.

Subtil, fin.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Well-written novel 28 mars 2014
Par J.Callier
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
It was a thrilling novel about a relationship in the English society during the late 1950's and 1960's. Tense and pleasant.
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