The Vagaries of sex

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If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the social transformations that occurred in the ‘Sixties. They may not have registered then as serious changes in our social fabric, but you’re no doubt able to look back now and shake your head, amazed at how things have changed.

Take sex, for instance.

That’s the driving force behind Ian McEwan’s novella, On Chesil Beach, which I posted on here and here. His characters reprise their youth, looking back on their sexual innocence as part of the ritual of growing up: their conflicted feelings of lust and awkwardness toward sex. But McEwan’s point doesn’t stop there; in his character’s hands McEwan shows us that the manner in which we handled those conflicted feelings affected their lives, pointed them in directions that now seem irreversible.

 

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