On Chesil Beach is a hard novel to describe in simple terms... or rather simplification of this kind of story misses the point: there is much going on in this short novel to admire. You can admire how McEwan contrasts the emotional strength and sexual awkwardness of two newlyweds, and their living both beyond and under the coming culture of easy gratification. You can admire the soft ending that is wrenching and re-readable and possibly the truest point on the compass here. Or you can find all the truths here for yourself: how sex and marriage interrelate, how external pressures drive private conformity, how little we understand or how intolerant we are of definitions of love that seem narrowing, unconventional, or simply a challenge greater than we can meet. On Chesil Beach is a sad but wonderful novel of quiet, reverberating honesty that - unlike so many stories that feign this level of far-reaching sincerity - everyone should read.