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ranters and ravers

For Ian McEwan's Wordy Critics, Shorter Is Better

Ian McEwan's new novelPhoto: Courtesy of Nan A. Talese/Doubleday

According to critics, Ian McEwan's tenth novel, On Chesil Beach, contains none of the sudden lurches into gruesomeness we typically expect from the British master known as Ian Macabre — despite documenting a particularly disastrous honeymoon. Critics all noted the book's brevity — it's barely 200 pages, so less work for them — and raved that McEwan's book fares far better than the newlyweds' inaugural evening. —Marc Tracy

Rave: "The sexual revolution changed everything dramatically … If there is no better medium than the novel for bringing that truism to life, for understanding its human dimensions, then there can be no one better than Ian McEwan to write such a novel — making of it a small, perfect, haunting work of art." —Tim Adams [The
Guardian
]

Rant: "A small, sullen, unsatisfying story … The couple's attempt to consummate their marriage, predictably enough, ends in an embarrassing encounter that will snowball into a far more dire emotional exchange, all of which is depicted by Mr. McEwan in unsavory, voyeuristic terms that are as cringemaking as they are graphic." —Michiko Kakutani [NYT]