One of the things about working in publishing is that you often work extremely long days. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m in the office from 8 am to 8 pm like some of my lawyer friends, but it does mean that I often work a normal day in the office, then go home and read and answer e-mails most of the night. When you stop to watch Lost or the Hills at 10:00 (shout out to Spencer! Hit me on the homeboy phone!!), add it up and you’ve just worked a 12+ hour day.
BUT. There are benefits to all this hard work. Did I mention the free books???
Yes, I was able to score an advance copy of Ian McEwan’s ON CHESIL BEACH, which is officially being published today, and I have an announcement to make: I am now the official chairman of the “Can’t We Just Give Ian McEwan the Nobel Prize Already?” Committee.
ON CHESIL BEACH is, in a word, incredible. I liked it even more than ATONEMENT, which for my money is one of the greatest books written in the past ten years. ON CHESIL BEACH is barely more than a novella, but it’s just so precise, it’s beautiful, it’s amazing.
And in my opinion every writer should read ON CHESIL BEACH because it is a case study in conflict. The conflict drips off the page. The characters are caught in conflict with each other, with themselves, with their families, but most of all, they’re caught between two eras, poised on the brink of the new modern times but not quite able to get there themselves.
New York Magazine recently had an article where they asked professors which books would be taught in schools in 50 years, and I don’t think you have to look any farther than Ian McEwan’s works.
So if you hit me up on the homeboy phone this week, be forewarned, I might just be inclined to shout into the phone, “Yo, why are you calling me instead of reading ON CHESIL BEACH??”
Josephine Damian says
I believe the comment about “Atonement” was “in a HUNDRED years, it will still be read, and considered a classic.”
And did you see the review that said, “If God could write a novel, it would be ‘Atonement'”?
It’s my absolute fave, I place no other above it. All the more reason why “Saturday” was such a huge disappointment. I read about 20 pages and said, Basta! (that’s Italian for “enough!”).
So I was really looking forward to “Chesil” knowing my main man McEwan would redeem himself… but then I saw Michiko’s pan in the NYT and said, hmmmmmm.
But Nathan, you’ve sold me! I’ll pick up a copy today. That is after I get done watching Oprah’s interview today with Cormac McCarthy.
The excerpt of it in The New Yorker a while back was excellent.
If you ever write a book, Nathan, I’ll be first in line to buy it.
Sarah Hina says
But Jonathan Lethem also wrote an article in The Times in praise of McEwan and ON CHESIL BEACH. And from what I read of the first chapter excerpt, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I think he is the most assured writer around right now.
I even loved SATURDAY, which made my husband pull out his hair. The plot was minimalistic, but the sentences were perfection.
I can’t wait to pick this up (gotta finish the Ondaatje first, though)…
I read it a few weeks back and absolutely adored it. Was it published in Canada before the US, because it’s been available here for a little while.
I’m currently reading his “Enduring Love”, which you would love if you loved Chesil Breach. There hasn’t been a book of his I haven’t gobbled up. They’re all so wonderfully written.
Midwestern Writer Wannabe says
Another book to read? How in the world is a person supposed to get their own writing done and still have time to read all these great works? 😉