to some degree I'm feeling bad over my treatment of McEwan; Atonement which suggested entree into the rarefied world of the British upper class and delivered squat with a notorious authorial device; Saturday which probably deserves the actual 1-star more courageous reviewers spotted it; literary fiction, of course, is hard to write. it is the elite, the sine qua of writing O CALLIOPE
On Chesil Beach probably deserves a high -3 or low 4/5 rating, this novella (what is it, 35000 words?) covers a topic which depends entirely, of course, on its ending. that is, it is about two newly weds and "the first night" so to speak.
well, the thing really comes down to is of course that we're engaging a process of glorifying something that really might not exist. yes, of course Edward and Florence may have enjoyed a lifetime of absolute and enduring happiness-- or maybe they would have ended up in a loveless, frigid marriage. McEwan is creating 35000 words about something that may or may not exist -- viz., "the idea of an unrequited married life." it's a kind of fake, mawkish sentimentality, the same inspiring the inclusion of "sea of faith" poem in Saturday. should we return to victorian sensibilities? should we faint at piano legs? "moralizing prose" so to speak.
however, fine ,slow-moving, detailed and at times incisive prose; thumbs up to the McEwan fan base. while McEwan is the tragedy of British letters, of course his McDonalds of literary fiction has its place, it may not fill, but it does the job. it's quick.
in the end (prediction here), lad literature will endure longer than McEwan. maybe that's the best bone to throw out to the McEwan fan base.