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Enduring Love Paperback – 28 Oct 2004

3.5 out of 5 stars 271 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Film Tie-In edition (28 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099481243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099481249
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A page-turner, with a plot so engrossing that it seems reckless to pick the book up in the evening if you plan to get any sleep that night" (Alain de Botton Daily Mail)

"Taut with narrative excitement and suspense...a novel of rich diversity that triumphantly integrates imagination and intelligence, rationality and emotional alertness" (Sunday Times)

"He is the maestro at creating suspense: the particular, sickening, see-sawing kind that demands a kind of physical courage from the reader to continue reading" (New Statesman)

"A novel of rich diversity" (Sunday Times)

"A virtuoso display" (Observer)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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
scope.
Perhaps Britain's finest novelist today.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
It is difficult to give a synopsis of this book, as after all so much of its cumulative power and suspense lie in the gradual revelation of its plot movement. It is really enough just to say that this is a novel about one man and his stalker. It begins with possibly the most sublime and perfect first chapter, which is a demonstration of McEwan's acute ability to create a teasing, hypnotic and terrible suspense from mere hints. From the events of that first chapter, one man's life is set on a new and potentially dangerous path.
In a way, McEwan's depiction of how people's lives can be adversely affected by brushing up against someone who, in accepted terms, is not quite "normal", is distinctly Rendellian. Though, while McEwan's portrayal of this particular malign influence is certainly powerful, here it is not quite as convincing or effective, even though it works well enough for the purposes of the plot. Another large slice of this novel's magic comes from McEwan's ability, through his tempered, reasonable prose, to make the most surreal of things seem entirely possible, even probable. Gradually, this book becomes a fascinating and satisfyingly oblique examination of obsession and all forms of love: familial, sexual, parental, as well as study in what love itself means, though the various character's experiences. The brilliant double-take title places a sharp gloss onto these themes, setting mental cogs in motion to top the excellent ensemble off perfectly.
Another of McEwan's trademarks is on brilliant display here, too: the depiction of the gradual disintegration of human relationships.
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