Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, a crisp and pocket-sized novel that takes place—with the exception of a number of flashbacks—over the course of a single summer night in 1962, is as tautly constructed as anything he has written, though sprawling in imagination. It’s emblematic of a generation, a semi-scornful elegy for a repressed age, sarcastic about mores and unrelentingly honest about psychological and sexual intimacy. It’s a big book in a little space. You can feel the author at times wishing to burst the bounds of his limited span, to go crashing past these tightly constrained boundaries and begin sweeping up the host of other generational topics available to him. McEwan resists the urge, which is for the best, this is a book better suited for the sprint than the marathon; he’s no Richard Ford, thank god.
The full review is available at PopMatters.Link