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Enduring Love: A Novel Paperback – December 29, 1998
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In itself, the accident would change the survivors' lives, filling them with an uneasy combination of shame, happiness, and endless self-reproach. (In one of the novel's many ironies, the balloon eventually lands safely, the boy unscathed.) But fate has far more unpleasant things in store for Joe. Meeting the eye of fellow rescuer Jed Parry, for example, turns out to be a very bad move. For Jed is instantly obsessed, making the first of many calls to Joe and Clarissa's London flat that very night. Soon he's openly shadowing Joe and writing him endless letters. (One insane epistle begins, "I feel happiness running through me like an electrical current. I close my eyes and see you as you were last night in the rain, across the road from me, with the unspoken love between us as strong as steel cable.") Worst of all, Jed's version of love comes to seem a distortion of Joe's feelings for Clarissa.
Apart from the incessant stalking, it is the conditionals--the contingencies--that most frustrate Joe, a scientific journalist. If only he and Clarissa had gone straight home from the airport... If only the wind hadn't picked up... If only he had saved Jed's 29 messages in a single day... Ian McEwan has long been a poet of the arbitrary nightmare, his characters ineluctably swept up in others' fantasies, skidding into deepening violence, and--worst of all--becoming strangers to those who love them. Even his prose itself is a masterful and methodical exercise in defamiliarization. But Enduring Love and its underrated predecessor, Black Dogs, are also meditations on knowledge and perception as well as brilliant manipulations of our own expectations. By the novel's end, you will be surprisingly unafraid of hot-air balloons, but you won't be too keen on looking a stranger in the eye. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
McEwan does a fine job in painting the lead character Joe Rose, as well as the secondary players. His use of language is clear and simple, yet never elementary. The opening chapter is as powerfully imagined as any other I've read. The reader is literally hanging by a rope at the suspense of the scene. And it sets the tone for the psychological terror to come.
More than a summer read, Enduring Love explores corners of our psyches and personalities that we don't often come face to face with. Suspense, terror, humor, and the very real idea of love and romance are alive in this book, which I reccommend as enjoyable to readers of any of these genres.
It turns out that this other man, Jed, is deeply disturbed, and from that one exchanged look, he falls in love with Joe. Beyond that, he is certain that Joe loves him, and that Joe's every gesture is some sort of secret communication of affection. This leads to a "Fatal Attraction"-like obsession which is a little less violent but maybe even more disturbing.
What separates this from just being another Fatal Attraction rip-off is Joe, who has problems of his own. Utterly rational - to the point of irrationality - Joe's attempts to clinically deal with his problems actually exacerbate them. His absolute certainty in the correctness of his actions lead to paranoia and alienation; instead of getting assistance with Jed, he winds up looking crazy himself...and due to the first-person narrative, the reader may start assuming Joe is insane as well.
Although Ian McEwan may not be known as a suspense writer, Enduring Love shows that he is good at writing such tales. But this is not merely a thriller; it's also a tale of obsession and guilt and how the two can intertwine. This is a book well worth reading.
"Enduring Love", published more than twenty years after that first collection of stories, is different from his earliest writing in the sense that its narrative turns around a more conventional, albeit still psychologically driven and bizarre, set of circumstances.
As many reviewers have commented, the first chapter of "Enduring Love" is a compelling page-turner. Joe and Clarissa, long-time lovers, are setting up a picnic under a tree on the edge of a wide expanse of field. Clarissa, a Keats scholar, has just returned from an extended research trip to Rome and the picnic is an occasion for them to celebrate their reunion. In Joe's first person narrative: "The beginning is simple to mark. We were in sunlight under a turkey oak, partly protected from a strong, gusty wind. I was kneeling on the grass with a corkscrew in my hand, and Clarissa was passing me the bottle-a 1987 Daumas Gassac. This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the time map: I was stretching out my hand, and as the cool neck and the black foil touched my palm, we heard a man's shout. We turned and looked across the field and saw the danger."
And what was the danger?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A true masterpiece from cover to cover. One which I will come back to again and again. I can't stop thinking about certain elements of this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by CathyMcReader
Beautifully written tedium. A 30 minute automobile trip actually takes 30 minutes. Characters are simply not credible, or maybe the British are as boring and pedantic as the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mary Jane Ryan
I so much loved this book. It's my very favorite of Ian McEwan's. A dark, dark tale of ertomania. I've bought it for so many friends, and most liked it as much as I do. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Paloma Reads
Found it Interesting, It held a lot of promise but to be honest it was a bit confusing,Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I've yet to read a bad book by Ian McEwan. They range in structure, tone, concept and elements of surprise from very good to absolutely tops. Read morePublished 7 months ago by William W. B. Veale
This is a character piece written as only Ian McEwan can. This is the story of Joe and Clarissa who are very much in love until a psychopathic obsessed man, Jed Parry, starts... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Cheryl L. Lettenmaier