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Enduring Love: A Novel by Ian McEwan

Enduring Love: A Novel (original 1997; edition 1998)

by Ian McEwan

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4,71784998 (3.68)229
Title:Enduring Love: A Novel
Authors:Ian McEwan
Info:Anchor (1998), Paperback, 272 pages

Work details

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan (1997)

  1. 10
    Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick (Limelite)
    Limelite: Both are literary love stories. Both spiral into violence.
  2. 10
    The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: The Reader could be successfully paired with Enduring Love for English Studies. In addition either book could also be be paired with the film The Talented Mr Ripley under the theme of obsession or even Border Crossing by Pat Barker

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Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
This book scared the bejesus out of me!

I love a lot of what McEwan writes, and didn't know anything about this book before I started into it. I didn't even read the blurb on the cover, and I'm so glad I didn't as everything was a delicious surprise. It's the type of book where I don't think it's fair to even hint at what it's about. He makes it seem so real it's downright alarming.

Suffice to say this is a fantastic psychological thriller, and I couldn't help but regularly marvel at how good the writing was. McEwan is fabulous at taking a small, fateful occurrence from a seemingly normal day and letting it snowball it into something positively heart-wrenching. He's the book equivalent of the movie 'Sliding Doors' - what if the character hadn't decided to go here that day, or what if they hadn't said those words at that time.

I loved it. McEwan at his best, which is great as I felt a little bit lukewarm about Atonement. I loved The Cement Garden and On Chesil Beach.

4.5 stars - Gripping, gripping, gripping. I dropped half a star as it got slightly far-fetched at one stage, but loved it nonetheless. ( )
  AlisonY | Aug 26, 2016 |
I now understand the love - hate relationship some readers have with McEwan's works. Yes, he is a master at capturing the personalities of obsession, compulsion, mania, etc. As much as I loved [Amsterdam], [Enduring Love] really came across to me as nothing more than a deep dive, self-absorbed navel gazing experience, even if it was a disturbing read. McEwan has a gift for capturing the minutiae of personal life but I kind of question why I require this level of detail to appreciate the subject of obsession and obsessive love. Yes, McEwan's details of Erotomania or de Clérambault's syndrome, is an interesting presentation and it works, but seemed like a bit of a slog to wade through the minor details just to comprehend the story arch and plot development. Just a little on the heavy detail / minutiae side. I am still not totally turned off from any further McEwan reading but I will be reserving the books I still need to read for when I am in the mood for the rather depressive topics McEwan writes about. ( )
  lkernagh | Aug 21, 2016 |
Although slightly outside my preferred genre range, I found this to be an excellent read. Having just recently finished "The Children Act" I was in the mood for more of McEwan's brilliant portrayal of relationships under tension - and I was not disappointed. After all, don't we each live with some amount of tension in our relationships, no matter how close and long-standing they are? Anything which sheds light on such situations is grist to my mill. Although the story has the shadow of a particular pathological condition hanging over it, I reckon there's a lot here that we can generalize to the broader realm. Next McEwan please! ( )
  oldblack | May 25, 2016 |
Love the idea of writing a book based on obscure case history from a psychiatric journal. Nice little surprise in the annex at the back of the book. Ian McEwan never fails to impress.
  ahovde01 | Apr 12, 2016 |
Rarely give a book 5 stars, but I was/am totally engaged with this one. McEwan's writing is sublime. I liked this book so much that I went out and bought three more of his books. More than a few times I put the book down to comtemplate what the character was thinking and describing. I will remember this book always. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Ian McEwan's reputation as a writer of small, impeccably written fictions is secure. His gift for the cold and scary is well established, too: among the critical praise that festoons his book jackets, the word "macabre" crops up more than once. But his books are more than tales of suspense and shock; they raise issues of guilt and love and fear, essentially of what happens when the civilized and ordered splinters against chaos.

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to Annalena
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The beginning is simple to mark.
When it's gone, you'll know what a gift love was.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385494149, Paperback)

Joe Rose has planned a postcard-perfect afternoon in the English countryside to celebrate his lover's return after six weeks in the States. To complete the picture, there's even a "helium balloon drifting dreamily across the wooded valley." But as Joe and Clarissa watch the balloon touch down, their idyll comes to an abrupt end. The pilot catches his leg in the anchor rope, while the only passenger, a boy, is too scared to jump down. As the wind whips into action, Joe and four other men rush to secure the basket. Mother Nature, however, isn't feeling very maternal. "A mighty fist socked the balloon in two rapid blows, one-two, the second more vicious than the first," and at once the rescuers are airborne. Joe manages to drop to the ground, as do most of his companions, but one man is lifted sky-high, only to fall to his death.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:02 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The bestselling author of "The Innocent" spins a tale of life intruded upon. After attempting to rescue a child from a runaway hot-air balloon, Joe Rose finds himself part of a living nightmare of suspicion and obsession.

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