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3.5 out of 5 stars
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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 17 February 2015
I am not usually a fan of Ian McEwan and just can't get on with his writing style at all. However, this book was excellent and a great read. I was never completely sure of how it was going to turn out, or whether the main characters fears were real or imagined. I also had a real sense of forboding throughout the book and it was at times really creepy. What made it an even more fascinating read for me (I am a scientist at heart) is that it appears to have been based on a true medical case.
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on 19 September 2012
Ian McEwan is inarguably a good writer. He paints fantastic mental images, and has an interesting way with words. However, this does not stop him from being boring, self indulgent, and pretentious. The character of Joe is clearly just McEwan, and because of this we've got a boring, self indulgent, and pretentious narrator for 245 pages. Both his plot and character development are paper thin. With no likeable, or even interesting, characters; they all just seem to moan for the most part. There are times were the book picks up pace and becomes somewhat readable and then goes on to a tangent about Darwinism, or lesser known scientific ideas. It almost feels as fifty percent of the book is completely irrelevant to the plot, and is just the ramblings of the author. I read a review that called it a "page turner", that you "couldn't put down if you intend getting any sleep that night", let me assure you this, I'm afraid, not the case. Stay clear. I struggled to finish it, and that, to me, is the sign of a bad book.
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on 10 January 2002
Scrolling through the reviews for this book, it is clear who took this book on face value (brilliant opening but...), but 'Enduring Love' is no ordinary thriller, it takes events of an almost implausible nature and shows how quickly life can change. It seems to me, those who expected this story to move as predictably as a normal thriller would be upset but Enduring Love is engrossing. McEwan sets up many wonderful underlying parallels not least those relating to the title itself e.g. 'Enduring Love'- A love that endures all (Joe and Clarissa)?- A love that must be endured (Jed for Joe)?
To me the ending is one of the most amazing sections of the novel, showing how endings are rarely tied up in one moment.
As I fear many readers may not have done this, the appendices must be read as must Jed's final letter to Joe. These leave the novel well finished, yet still open ended.
A top read.
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on 19 September 2012
The first chapter of this novel is stunning. The story telling is visual and transporting and the pace of it flows like water. Whilst reading, I was thinking, if the whole book is like this I really have found a classic to treasure on my bookshelf.

Unfortunately, the rest of the book is dismal, the plot is boring and the characters are unbelievable and entirely unconvincing. I found out after finishing the book, that the first chapter had originally been a short story and Ian McEwan had decided to turn it into a novel.

All I can say is, bad bad move.
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on 26 December 2013
McEwan never fails to impress as a storyteller. His genius with language can only be admired. Here's another story with a difference, one that makes the reader gasp, think, ponder and wallow in his gift. I loved 'Saturdays' so much that I decided to give a few of his others a go. Glad I did. I won't write a precise of the story here, I don't get why people try to do that at all. Like reviewers need premature amateur explanations? No, we don't.
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on 6 April 2012
'Enduring Love' promises a lot, but never delivers.

The narrative takes off in style. By the end of the first scene - wherein our middle-class hero Joe Rose witnesses, and is partially implicated in, the death of a man in a ballooning disaster - McEwan's writing chops are beyond question. It's a brilliant scene, capturing the sense of disbelief and horror we feel at the instant when the unthinkable becomes real.

And in the aftermath of this devastating opening, the book only seems to get better: Joe's taken a serious knock from what he's seen and done, and appears to be losing his grip. To make matters worse, Joe is being stalked by Jed, a disturbed young man whom Joe encountered at the scene of the disaster. Joe's unease at being trailed by a nutter is understandable, but there's something wrong. Joe is alienating his girlfriend Clarissa and, intriguingly, we're led to suspect that Joe's persecution is largely a figment of his own imagination.

This is interesting stuff. Clearly, Joe has suffered a trauma that has badly shaken his sense of self, and he's not coping. Given McEwan's undeniable gifts as a writer, the reader's convinced he's in for a great ride, expecting nothing less than a top-shelf glimpse into the Dark Soul of Man and the Enduring Verities of the Human Condition. Or at least something above par.

But then, just as the narrative starts to gain some serious altitude, he turns off the gas. Turns out Jed is what seems to be: a nutter. And that's all. You see, Jed's got de Clerambault's syndrome, one of the pretentious names that shrinks give to stalkers. Now I know it's not nice to be a nutter, and it's even less nice to be stalked by one, but I don't go to literature to find that out. After the narrative proper peters out, McEwan even whacks on a pretend psych's report - complete with awful pseudo-medical jargon - about poor Jed, who's been committed to an asylum and doesn't seem to be getting any better.

I feel bad for Jed, but in the end he's a bit boring. Joe's a bit boring too, and so, in the end, is this book.
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on 4 February 2016
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. The opening was brilliant as well. However, the inane ramblings of the narrator and the ridiculous and tiresome "love" letters from Jed, were painful and I end in up skim reading most of them.
I have not been put off from reading McEwan, but I can't recommend this book. It was truly a disappointment as it had been raved about by so many people I know.
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on 13 January 2004
Enduring Love is a fantastically written novel. The main character and narrator Joe Rose is a rationalist, he has lived his life through logic and reason, but as a series of seemingly illogical and coincidental events unfold, so does his life. He witnesses a man dying due to a hot air balloon disaster (could he have changed the outcome?), one of the other witnesses becomes obsessed by him, and his wife becomes estranged from him (she believes it is he who is obsessed and the one in need of psychiatric help). The book encompasses much of the human condition, from love and obsession to science and religion. It also makes you aware of just how fragile your life is and how quickly things can change.
There are a lot of interesting ideas in this book and, depending how you read it, you either get it or you don't, so do you have any control over your life?
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on 9 August 2002
This book was given to me by a friend who was attempting to sway me from a life of Stephen King,and has succeeded. McEwan is quite frankly a literary genius, the balloon scene at the beginning brought a mixture of childhood fantasy as well as deep contemplation. The narrative is fast flowing with descriptions that need no imagination as they are so vivid.
The strong characters, adverse in personality, strenghten the Science Vs Religion discussions that frequently take place and call us all to question.All of this is constructed wonderfully within a story line of a mentally ill obsessive. The difficulties and strains on Clarissa and Joe's life are felt throughout with sympathy and pathos being extracted like a tooth, from the reader.The perfect couple reduced by a crazed man.
The ending is quite a depressing one, refreshing that McEwan hasn't given us the tearjerker that the ladies love-thank God.If there is one criticism,and it is a struggle to find one, it is that religion has been portrayed mainly by an obsessive and ill patient and is not really, in my opinion, quite as fairly put across. But such is the story that it really doesn't matter, however devoutly religious you are.
Many more McEwan novels will be read, at the very least browsed, by myself, a now hooked and de clarembert sufferer myself-nearly!
This book will become a classic in years to come, believe me.
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