Friday, April 13, 2007

Stealing Pebbles

Ian McEwan found himself in trouble again recently ... for stealing a handful of pebbles from a beach!

He took the stones from Chesil beach in Dorset, the locale which inspired his latest novel of the same name, so that he could keep them on his writing desk for inspiration.

When he announced as much in a radio interview, he created a furor among conservationists and was threatened with a £2,000 fine!

That the pebbles of Chesil are infinitely nickable is explained by Simon Mills. And I greatly sympathize, being a persistent purloiner of beach artifacts myself. Surely the fact that the stones are required for the higher service of art should placate the council officials? (And imagine what McEwan could have sold them for on e-bay once the book hit the Booker longlist!)

Am so mad keen to read On Chesil Beach that I've been studiously avoiding all the reviews of the book and the interviews with McEwan on various literary pages because I don't want any spoilers.

I bookmark then for future returning to this interview by Boyd Tonkin in the Independent, John Freeman's article in the Australian, and Natasha Walters review in the Guardian.

But I might just read the first chapter online ...

(Pictures of Chesil beach taken from here.)

13 comments:

lil ms d said...

i take off with pebbles too when i'm at a beach... seashells... found alocket once but didnt take it cos that's bad karma, found needles too...

Chet said...

It's ages since I've been to a beach. The last time I went, I came down with lupus. :(

animah said...

I hope you realise it's a RM10,000 fine if you remove any coral.
As for pebbles, my mother picked up one somewhere in the Lake District in 1979. She's had it in her handbag ever since - even through the change in handbags.
Chet, oh no. Does that mean you have to avoid beaches now?

Kenny Mah said...

AH, Sharon! I know exactly what you mean! I dread reading reviews before I've had had a chance to crack open the book myself, but it's O so difficult to resist sometimes!

P.S. Latest haul from Payless? ;)

bibliobibuli said...

ms d - the locket should be a story ...

chet - oh dear!

i miss beaches. haven't been to one for ages.

animah - where got coral in uk?

i have a lovely haul of beach stones from british, malaysian and new zealand beaches and they all sit on my writing desk.

kenny - haven't been to pay less yet. maybe sunday. maybe not this time. am drowning in books. got given another stack of books for review when i went to see jason at of the edge. can't cope. but at the same time ...

Chet said...

Animah - beaches, and anything outdoor during the day. Hmm ... maybe I should switch my life around and sleep during the day and get up and do stuff at night. Failing that, I'm supposed to cover up, e.g., long sleeves, but wot about the face? Or wear sunscreen.

Sharanya Manivannan said...

Ah! I hope I don't get into trouble. Coast fetish, but am superstitious, so don't always pick things up (half a pendant, once).

With me always: sand from Marina Beach, Chennai. (But I think that's okay, as one of the biggest/longest beaches in the world, there's loads left to spare).

But what about what I did yesterday at that beach in S'pore... the one I'm writing a novel about? :-S

Kenny Mah said...

I've decided not to go this round either. I am dreadfully slow these days in reading books --- I squeeze all the time I can find during breakfast and in bed before sleep, but still... :(

sympozium said...

On the carpark by the beach outside, every Sunday morning, lots of used condoms lying on the pavement! Like calamari tubes! Or jellyfish! McEwan is welcome to collect them!

Lotus Reads said...

I just finished reading "On Chesil Beach" , but I don't have a review up as yet. McEwan is going to be reading in Toronto on the 30th...I'd love to take all 13 books (yes I have every book he's ever written) and have him sign them but I doubt that will go down very well with the organizers! lol I hope you get to read the book soon, Sharon, I'd love to hear what you think.

bibliobibuli said...

coast fetish, sharanya? i love beach combing. now what did you do on the beach in singapore? hope it wasn't too naughty

wow sympozium - waxing poetic over ... erm ...

lotus - just tell me ... thumbs up or thumbs down and no more than that (i have to make a special journey into town to get it ...)

kenny - i didn't go 'cos i though my accountant was coming round. i will have to console myself with books from elsewhere

Lotus Reads said...

Sharon, I'd give it a thumbs up. I do have some small squibbles with the book, but we'll discuss the merits and criticisms after you read it.

bibliobibuli said...

squibbles - nice word!