Enduring Love Paperback – 1 Mar 2012
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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.
"'A virtuoso display'" (Observer)
"'A novel of rich diversity'" (Sunday Times)
"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)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing book. Couldn't put it down and read it in a day. Haven't done that in 10 years. Definitely worth reading and quality was good.Published 2 months ago by Rebecca Ingall
Had a tea stain on the front but not unexpected as it is "pre loved" and a few folded pages. Read more
Well, it was certainly an enduring task getting through this book.
It wasn't all bad. When things actually happened in the story, it was interesting and engaging. Read more
Ending doesn't live up to the story but very enjoyable. Read it!Published 6 months ago by Alex M Siddons
One of McEwan's finest novels and character creations, the story of an obsessive, destructive kind of love that makes this a modern classic.Published 6 months ago by Gloria Spicer