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Enduring Love [Hardcover]

Ian McEwan
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb 1998
Science writer Joe Rose is spending a day in the country with his long-time lover, Clarissa, when he witnesses a tragic accident--a balloon with a boy trapped in it is being tossed by the wind, and, in an attempt to save the child, a man is killed. As though that isn't disturbing enough, a man named Jed Parry, who has joined Rose in helping to bring the balloon to safety, believes that something has passed between him and Rose--something that sparks in Parry a deranged, obsessive kind of love.

Soon Parry is stalking Rose, who turns to science to try to understand the situation. Parry apparently suffers from a condition known to psychiatrists as de Clerambault Syndrome, in which the afflicted individual obsessively pursues the object of his desire until the frustrated love turns to hate and rage--transforming one of life's most valued experiences into pathological horror. As Rose grows more paranoid and terrified, as his treasured relationship with Clarissa breaks under the tension of his fear, Rose realizes that he needs to find something beyond the cold reasoning of science if this love is to be endured.

With the cool brilliance and deep compassion that defined his best novels (The Comfort of Strangers, The Innocent), Ian McEwan has once again spun a tale of life intruded upon by shocks of violence-and discovered profound truths about the nature of love and the power of forgiveness.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (Feb 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385491123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385491129
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 19 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,423,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian McEwan is a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children's novel illustrated by Anthony Browne. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, The Cement Garden, Enduring Love, Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize, Atonement, Saturday and On Chesil Beach.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Joe planned a postcard-perfect afternoon in the English countryside to celebrate his lover's return after six weeks in the States. The perfect day turns to nightmare, however, when they are involved in freak ballooning accident in which a boy is saved but a man is killed

In itself, the accident would change the couple and the survivors' lives, filling them with an uneasy combination of shame, happiness, and endless self-reproach. 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 de-familiarisation. 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. --Alex Freeman --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


“The unputdownable book is an unswitchoffable listen.”
Express 19/12/98

“Give yourself just five minutes of Richard E Grant reading Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love, but make sure you have no pressing engagements for the next couple of hours… a subtle reading of an already great novel.”
Sue Gaisford, Independent on Sunday 9/5/99

--This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nasty? Maybe. Uplifting? YES! 13 Dec 2002
By Greedo
I have not before submitted any online reviews to Amazon, but I felt compelled to do so in this case for two reasons. Firstly, because I found it a truly masterful piece of fiction, and secondly, in order to answer those reviewers who have labelled the book "nasty" and insinuated that it is offers a purely pessimistic view of the world.
Much has been made of the first chapter of the book, and rightly so, but I would draw attention to the final chapter, for it was this part which left me breathless. It is also here that McEwan answers the conundrum that he set us in the title of his book. Is he saying that love is a nuisance - an affliction that we must endure? Or is his message that love can endure whatever hardships are placed before it?
If you finished reading after the penultimate chapter, then the message would clearly be the former. However, in the beautifully written conclusion, McEwan offers us a feeling of redemption, offering hope to each of the relationships in the novel which feature mutual affection, and hence ending on an optimistic note. The very last line made my heart miss a beat.
In addition to this neat trick, McEwan also displays perception and empathy of the highest order - qualities that for me seem to be found in all the most accomplished authors, and not easy when writing about both men, women, children, and, erm, psychopaths. The characters in the novel are believable, and seem like living, breathing entities rather than merely being shards of the authors own ego.
So, nasty? Well, yes. The world can be a ugly place, and thus McEwan does not shirk from documenting this. But, ultimately, uplifting. Love, McEwan is saying, can endure. Indeed, true love will. A positive message, and an outstanding novel.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and constructed 1 Dec 2004
Enduring Love is one of Ian McEwan's finest works. It is
also one of the most beautifully written and emotionally
engaging books to have come out of Britain in the past
decade. Fans of McEwan familiar with his superb wartime
novel, Atonement, will enjoy Enduring Love very much.
The novel focuses on love and obsession and the factors
that drive us and how we perceive ourselves through the prism
of our relationships in the modern world.
The story also renders a nuanced expose of the stalking
phenomenon and is constructed in such a way as to encourage
the reader to ponder whether the central character Joe
is imagining the stalking he seems to be undergoing.
An informed and well written dissection of this modern
phenomenon complete with the usual McEwan themes of love, loss
and beautiful prose.
I enjoyed this novel and found it an excellent companion piece
to Atonement. I must admit I prefer McEwan in this form
than to his enjoyable but farcical Booker-prize winning romp, Amsterdam. I would also encourage fans of the recent film
starring Daniel Craig and Samantha Morton to read the novel
as it differs in some regards from the film, which is
also excellent, though the medium lacks the same narrative
Perhaps Britain's finest novelist today.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars starts well but............ 23 April 2010
Not what you'd call a huge fan of Mr McEwan but I enjoyed Saturday and Atonement. So I picked this up expecting a lot, especially when I read the sleeve quotes.
After a very good start full of potential I felt that this went right off track- becoming less credible and convincing. By the time I reached the point where he dug up an old aquaintance to supply him with a gun I was cringeing and simply had to stop reading- it simply felt false and phoney.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best! 30 Aug 2000
I purchased this book on the whim and recommendation of a magazine withouteven reading the reverse to dicover its subject matter. I had no idea that it would turn out be one of the most chilling books I have ever read. The proseis superb and the Keats link is irony at its best. The characters are deep whilst the descriptionof even the most inconsequential items shows what a brilliant author McEwan is. The final chapters are as shocking as they are excellent. Mental health is a disturbing area and McEwan portrays this in the sinister character of Jed Parry who you feel that YOU could meet at any time and who is not confined to the annals of fiction. This is the best book of te ninetiesin my opinion and I would advise everyone to read it asap.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars rolling or blaring 10 Jun 2012
McEwan is a talented writer but he has a passion for digression - dinosaurs, quantum physics, Romantic poetry - off he goes on a little ego trip, often leaving the reader stranded at a pivotal juncture in the story. He'll get to the point eventually but only in his own good time. Perhaps this is his way of heightening the narrative tension but it doesn't work for me.

His characters are not recognisable as independent human beings - they're all McEwan, obviously wearing an imaginary pleated skirt when he's being Clarissa. If one compares this novel to the way Roddy Doyle transforms himself into Paula Spencer in The Woman Who Walked Into Doors - the gulf is vast.

On page 192 of this book he writes, 'A powerful odour of burnt food and ammonia rolled, or blared, out of the house...'. The idea of an odour blaring out of a house is great but its rather spoiled by first positing that the odour 'rolled out' - which is not nearly as evocative. But why give us the choice in the first place?

McEwan regularly exhibits flashes of brilliance both in his language and ideas but too often they're lost in a cloud of indecision.

The idea behind this book is fascinating but the McEwan's treatment of it is not.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stalking for dummies...
This is a true masterpiece from Ian McEwan, and a story that all too often mirrors real life. It shows just how quickly obsession towards a complete stranger can take over... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Bonemonkey
5.0 out of 5 stars Well wriiten book.
A Very good book, very well wriiten. The ending was a suprise. Second hand book and in excellent condition
Published 9 days ago by Sonnet 118
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Studying it for A level
Published 25 days ago by Willyed
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring!
This was actually the most boring read, slow story. Confusing narrative that seemed to become contradictory.
2 stars only for delivery as it was delivered safe and quick.
Published 1 month ago by Memememememe
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
It's a good book. Only read, as I had to for school, but the story was alright. Little hard to follow in places, but overall it was ok.
Published 2 months ago by Beth
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
A clunky attempt to play around with narratives and narrators. The first chapter is okay and it's downhill from then on.
Published 3 months ago by Arcady
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I read this from a recommendation from my creative writing tutor in uni to help me with my own novel. I read this and on chesil beach. Both were fantastic and I loved them!
Published 3 months ago by Amy Denson
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT.
Published 5 months ago by winitlady
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review
For the opening two chapters alone. If you like Atonement and unreliable narrators you will enjoy this book. One of his best openings.
Published 6 months ago by Michelle R.
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow-motion thriller told through psychological microscope
Extremely well written. Simple but effective and even poetic use of language. Extremely astutely observed psychology of narrator. Packed with interesting scientific asides. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mike Landay
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