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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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4,996861,318 (3.69)256
Title:Enduring Love: A Novel
Authors:Ian McEwan
Info:Anchor (1998), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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Enduring Love by Ian McEwan (1997)

Recently added byRickKrause, Robert3167, JoanneVTS, Jimmysada, Bodoni, ordet, niamhken73, anjenue, private library
  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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English (75)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Polish (1)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (86)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
The only type of love that endures is that which is not reciprocated.

Unlike most novels whose story rises to a culmination, McEwan uses the big event as an opener. And what an unforgettable opener! The account that follows is a disturbing story of obsession: sinister, ominous, but utterly compelling.

Joe is a frustrated scientist, now reduced to writing popular science journal articles. His thought processes, of rationalizing in the scientific way is eluding him, and the occupational hazard of "popularizing" has taken over. Is Joe an unreliable narrator? There is so much that can be read into the story that the reader is never quite sure of the veracity of Joe's version. The scene where he tries to acquire a means of defence may be dark but is pure comedy, that somehow fits with the creepiness factor.

Another excellent, beautifully written tale from McEwan. ( )
  VivienneR | Aug 9, 2018 |
Can this author really be the same man who wrote Atonement? I have now read enough of his books to know there is a range from horrid to sublime and a bit of everything in between, and this one is the in between.

I hated the first half and almost tossed it in. I didn’t for the obvious reason, I wanted to know which of the two scenarios was right, who was the crazy man here? In the end, I realized, it didn’t really matter if Joe was right or wrong, he was still unbalanced, and he was still a very unreliable narrator. What was most frustrating was that for all the elevated subject matter and intellectual writing, there was nothing greater than “story” here for me.

There is something at the heart of this book that repelled me. Perhaps it was the treatment of God and faith. I believe; and I find it sad that anyone’s belief would be ridiculed or mocked, and, notwithstanding the obvious element of insanity attributed to Jed Parry, I found McEwan’s treatment of the topic hostile and mocking in nature.

I have two other McEwan books sitting on my library bookshelves. I think they will go with me on my next trip to the used book store and I can lighten my TBR by two books. I don’t see me ever cracking a McEwan bookcover again. I am so glad I started with Atonement, because had I read these others first, I would never have gotten there.
( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
Best-selling author, Ian McEwan has a knack for stories that slowly build for the reader right up until the precipice. According to WikiPedia, Ian Russell McEwan (born 21 June 1948 14 days after my birthday) is an English novelist and screenwriter. In 2008, The London Times featured him on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945" and The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 19 in their list of the "100 most powerful people in British culture." In 1998, he won The Booker Prize for Amsterdam. This 1997 novel, Enduring Love is among a few of his early works I have eagerly devoured.

Joe and Clarissa have what seems to be an ideal marriage. Clarissa is a therapist, who is dedicated to her profession. Joe has a doctorate in physics, but his research interests have withered. He is now a successful freelance writer. Clarissa has been away for some time, and when she returns from her latest job, they want to rekindle their relationship with a romantic picnic. McEwan writes, “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 Dauman Gassac, This was the moment, this was the pin prick 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 to look across the field and saw the danger. Next thing, I was running toward it. The transformation was absolute: I don’t recall dropping the corkscrew, or getting to my feet, or making a decision, or hearing the caution Clarissa called after me. What idiocy, to be racing into this story and its labyrinths, sprinting away from out happiness among the fresh spring grasses by the oak. There was the shout again, and a child’s cry, enfeebled by the wind that roared in the tall trees along the hedgerows. I ran faster. And there, suddenly, from different points around the field, four other men were converging on the scene, running like me” (1).

This opening paragraph displays the real power of McEwan as a writer. His attention to details, the split-second reaction, all led Joe to a nightmare of unusual proportions. In two appendices, McEwan spells out a peculiar affliction known as “de Clerambault’s Syndrome. Joe becomes a victim, when one of the men, who attempted to rescue a child in the out-of-control balloon, directs his obsession to Joey. Unfortunately, no one has seen Jed, he has no police record, and the stress is damaging Joe and Clarissa’s marriage.

I was amused by some of the stories Joe heard from his students, and similar stories from Clarissas’s patient. McEwan writes, “The student [Clarissa] supervised yesterday, a raw girl from Lancaster, phoned her in tears and shouted incoherently. When Clarissa calmed her down, the girl accused her of setting her impossible reading tasks and of sending her up blind alleys of research. The Romantic poetry seminar went badly because two students appointed to give discussion papers had prepared nothing and the rest of the kids had not bothered with the reading” (85). Joe has a similar experience with one of his students.

Ian McEwan is a masterful story teller with deep and interesting examinations of the mind. No one believes Joe, and he begins researching the syndrome. The marriage begins to shred. The climax of Enduring Love is unforgettable. 5 stars.

--Chiron, 6/13/18 ( )
  rmckeown | Jun 27, 2018 |
One of McEwan's best. It had me hooked from the beginning, instead of taking time to work up to it. The story is completely original, slightly morbid, and beautifully written: true McEwan.

[Don't bother watching the movie, though. It's not worth it.] ( )
  SirRoger | Mar 27, 2018 |
Joe Rose and his girlfriend are enjoying a lovely picnic in the park, when a elderly balloonist attempts to land his hot air balloon near them. The older man falls while getting out, leaving his grandchild alone in the balloon.

Immediately a group of onlookers, including Joe, rush to secure the balloon. But they are unable to meet the task and the balloon with the child inside and one lone rescuer who was able to hang on, suddenly goes airbound in a fierce wind gust.

Tragedy follows. While each of the rescuers question their role in the death, it's obvious from the beginning that one man, Jed Parry, whose mental health is already questionable, is completely undone by it.

Jed becomes obsessed with Joe, follows him, lurks outside his home, sends passionate letters and phone messages and believes that Joe is not only in love with him, but that Joe is the one that initiated the affair.

The police say they can't help Joe and Joe's girlfriend isn't even sure that Jed exists.

It's an interesting look at obsession. According to [1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die], it also involves “rooting out meaning from chaos. Trust and doubt are also central”. p. 875

I found this entertaining, but not groundbreaking and am rather puzzled why it is on the 1001 list. ( )
  streamsong | Mar 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (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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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.

(summary from another edition)

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