This is a novel about emotions. It opens with a newly married couple, Florence and Edward eating dinner in their bridal suite. Both are apprehensive about what is to come. Edward for screwing up and not controlling himself and Florence for suppressing the disgust she feels. This is the era before the sexual revolution when such things are just not discussed.
McEwan is able to write beautiful prose depicting with intensity how each of them feels. The story of how they each got to this point is told. What is missing is why Florence feels disgust the way she does.
"By doing nothing" was a real moving statement that we all can take to heart. This story is about what happens when two people do not communicate. Anger and disappointment get in the way of love.
The other thing I came to realize was how differently men 'love'. Women love an all-encompassing love and men love from deep within.