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on 13 December 2002
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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on 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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VINE VOICEon 11 May 2010
With one of the most exciting first chapters written, this story of love and obsession captures you from page one and propels you through a psychological thriller. Without spoiling too much of the opening, a tragedy brings a group of strangers together including main character Joe and his girlfriend Clarissa. While everyone struggles to come to terms with their involvement in the tragedy Joe, finds himself entangled with fellow witness Jed, whose innocent behaviour at first becomes more sinister as the story progresses and the nightmare, begins.

Under pressure, Science Journalist Joe determines to find a solid scientific explanation for Jed's actions as well as coping with his own feeling of failure for letting the tragedy occur. In contrast, Literature Lecturer Clarissa takes a more humanistic, romantic view of life but fails to understand Joe's own obsession with Jed. Ultimately, this takes a toll on, what they had considered 'strong', relationship.

McEwan presents each character with their own enduring love and tests them to the limit exploring how others' actions can affect the fragility of relationships. It is difficult to write this review without spoiling the plot, sub plots and the twists and turns that will keep you at the end of the seat. What can be said is that McEwen leaves you feeling so confused over who to sympathise with and who to trust which leaves you wondering about your own state of mind.

Deeply philosophical but with fantastic energy, Enduring Love will keep you engrossed throughout
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on 1 December 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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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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on 29 June 2012
An exquisite representation of the principal taboos of modern society - that of stalking and descending into insanity - this novel explores, with a mind-numbingly literary beauty, the mind of one Jed Parry, desperate to force his Christian devotion on the unsuspecting Joe and Clarissa. The book opens with McEwan triumphantly exclaiming that 'the beginning is simple to mark'; yet, as the novel progresses further, it is clear that, in fact, Jed's mind is a complex vortex of simple emotions amplified to such an extent by his religious conviction that a balloon incident with which the novel begins becomes the catalyst for a cataclysmic series of events that will challenge even Joe's most scientific and rational state of mind.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 December 2015
This is an intelligently written book which I found captivating from start to finish - thanks to some extent to my good fortune in avoiding all the reviews which gave spoilers. Consequently I found the suspense, presented through the analytical mind of the narrator, strikingly powerful. And consequently, I will not reveal anything about the story.

The low ratings given to this book are in many cases due to misreading. That the book, or the "bad" character, is described as "nasty" almost makes me despair. Where is the readers' humanity for a pitiful, abused, desperate individual? (Read it and make your own judgement)

The story is a delicious combination of several difficult topics: mental illness (one particular sort), the strengths and weaknesses of an extreme scientific habit of thought (which one reviewer mistook for an "unreliable narrator") and multiple angles on the pain of love - loss, delusion, suspicion, the consequence of tragedy, and a classic case of partners failing to understand each other. The title word "enduring" applies to each of the three loves in the book (four if you include the references to Keats). The delusion of love and the real mental illness are contrasted with false accusations of delusion and mental illness.

All these strands are woven together in a coherent and convincing whole. Some readers have questioned the realism of the mentally ill character. I too, towards the middle of the book, found that character's behaviour exaggerated. But as the book progressed I realised how mistaken I had been. Have no doubt - the human mind is perfectly capable of everything in these pages. It was not exaggerated one jot. This was admittedly an extreme case but that makes it no less realistic. The purpose of a novel is to let us safely experience things we would never ordinarily go near (and let's be grateful for that).

It takes a few seconds to verify the accuracy of the author's research but spare him a thought. The book was published 4 years before the founding of wikipedia.
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on 14 December 2010
This book is incredibly well written, by a very talented author. It covers brilliant themes and issues such as religion and love. The book is narrated in a very unusual way, using all 3 tenses to there advantage. Mcewan builds tension incredibly well throughout the book and once you start reading it is very hard to stop! The basic storyline is about a man who develops and obsession for the narrator of the story (Joe) which ends up getting out of hand. It all started with a very unfortunate balloon accident, which in itself makes the book even more unique as it is an unusual accident to happen.

The downside to the book is that the small details are dragged out much more than the main events. For example, when describing something that happens in 2 minutes, it takes over 2 pages. However when the main event occurs which lasts a good deal longer the pace is much faster and the main bits are almost rushed over. Therefore the smaller, less important bits that are dragged out do get a bit tedious towards the end of the book. However, its these less important bits that build the tension in the book, so if they weren't there the book would probably be not as tense and engrossive as it is.

Overall it is a brilliant book and well worth a read.
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When Joe and Clarissa get caught in a dramatic accident that leads to death, they have no idea how their life is about to change...
I find McEwan an uneven writer and this didn't really work for me. There are some really good parts but much that is less than convincing. I didn't love the first chapter and couldn't really believe that a gust of wind in Oxford could knock a full-grown man out of a balloon-basket or the whole story of Logan. So the mechanicals didn't work but the emotional shock to Joe was conveyed beautifully.

I also liked the start of the Joe/Jed story which felt frighteningly believable - but then the Jed letters became dull and repetitive (as I'm sure they would be in real life, just didn't make them good reading) and the story took way too dramatic a turn with would-be assassinations and shoot-outs in middle-class London.

Ultimately the whole thing just sort of fizzled away and I hated the epilogue which gave us a happy ending off stage as I couldn't imagine how that had come about. So this starts out well with some really strong writing but raises all kinds of questions that then get evaded by the text. Very unsatisfying.
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on 27 March 2013
I studied this book for English Literature A-Level and wasn't a massive fan. The plot is hard often hard to follow, and McEwan's writing style is just overly descriptive. You may think that this is not necessarily a bad thing, and normally I would agree, but with Enduring Love every sentence is descriptive to the point of ridiculousness, where a speck of dust turns into a one page paragraph of adjectives. Not only this, but the book was just one big anti-climax with an ultimately disappointing ending.
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