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??”