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On Chesil Beach

by Ian McEwan

In July, 1962, Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting, young people of drastically different backgrounds (he's the son of a schoolmaster and a brain-damaged woman, whereas she is the artistically inclined daughter of a wealthy industrialist and an Oxford lecturer), have just been married and are spending their honeymoon in a small hotel on the Dorset seashore. (See Chesil Beach.)

During the course of an evening, both reflect upon their upbringing and their fears of the future. Edward is prone to fits of violence and Florence is terrified of intimacy: eventually this leads to a confrontation that will change their relationship irrevocably.

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