Magazine
Latest Issue

Snared by the past

Ian McEwan's new novel, the story of a young couple's disastrous wedding night, is both a triumphant piece of social history and a reminder of the misery caused by an earlier age's sexual decorum

By Tom Chatfield   April 2007

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape, £12.99)

When John Banville demolished Ian McEwan’s last novel, Saturday, in the New York Review of Books, he reserved particular scorn for the amatory encounters between its main character, Henry Perowne, and his “unfailingly fragrant” wife. How, Banville asked, could we be expected to take seriously this self-satisfied world in which “no one suffers from morning breath, and women long-married wake up every time primed for sex?” Banville will, I suspect, breathe a sigh of relief as he reads On Chesil Beach, which…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect