“ Author: Ian McEwan / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 28 October 2004 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: Vintage / Title: Enduring Love / ISBN 13: 9780099481249 / ISBN 10: 0099481249 / Alternative EAN: 9780099276586 „
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"When its gone, you'll know what a gift love was. you'll suffer like this. So go back and fight to keep it."- Ian McEwan, Enduring Love
The novel itself has a structure that has been knitted together with elaborate precision. This is accredited nonconstructive by most critics, but when relating it to the general narrative I think McEwan was so precise in his structure because the novel is, knowingly, in Joe's point of view. As a writer, Joe is aware he is telling his story to the readers. This gives off a realistic atmosphere and a subject of non-fiction. Therefore, the character can clear-cut his plot points, instead of giving unnecessary information to his readership.
The plot follows the extraordinary events after a Balloon accident, in which a man tragically dies. However, this leads us to the sub-plot. The main plot would be that of the characters Joe, Jed and Clarissa. Clarissa is Joe's companion in life and through Jed's obsessive behaviour it is destroyed. Joe and Jed also meet at the Balloon accident and from then on out become joined by what Jed calls, fate. Joe becomes obsessed with his new found stalker and it defines strong dominant lines in his relationship with Clarissa. However, Jed takes stalking to a whole new level. The obsession brings Joe to the brink of murder and madness.
The novel explores themes in which most strong readerships are familiar with. These themes consist of love, reading and fate. The theme of reading comes through the narrative style of storytelling. Joe tells his story within the novel and of course the writer of the novel is telling his. However, it also reveals the realism of life, its consequence and science. Science is depicted on a whole new level in this novel, as the character Joe relates everything in his life to science. He blames Jed's illness on science, whereas Jed refers to it as fate given to them by God. He also tries to work the Balloon accident out further on in the novel by re-enacting the event with a multitude of science experiments.
"What idiocy, to racing into this story and its labyrinths, sprinting away from our happiness among the fresh spring grasses by the oak." - Ian McEwan, Enduring Love
Though the novel sounds complex with its themes and narrative, it isn't. It has been put together precisely and is quite easy to follow because of this. However, let it be knows that it is a piece of literature and wouldn't appeal to those who do not like reading strong literature pieces. The typography is quite small and it is written at an intellectual standard. The novel spreads over 231 pages, which at first I thought was quite large for a literature piece. However, it keeps you gripped until the very end and I couldn't put it down. It explores all manner of things in life and I couldn't believe how surreal it was.
The novel is also a film. Personally, I think that the film isn't worth watching because the way it has been directed and filmed doesn't bring the novel justice. The film lacks in all areas of mise-en-scene and cinematography. However, it does help you to understand the novel further and it helps you to depict some scenes more thoroughly. It also stars Daniel Craig. So if anyone is interested in any of his earlier works, it is definitely worth the shot.
I'd rate this book 6/10. I would also definitely recommend it.
Author: Ian McEwan
First Published: 1997
After witnessing a freak hot air balloon accident, Joe Rose never imagined his life would become haunted by another witness who becomes obsessed with him.
Joe Rose was enjoying a picnic with his long-term girlfriend Clarissa when the disaster happened. Racing to help a man wrestling with a hot air balloon with his terrified grandson inside, Joe cannot guess of the fatal catastrophe soon to follow. But the death of an innocent man is only the beginning. When Joe watched the death of John Logan, he never imagined that the man standing next to him, Jed Parry, was about to ruin his orderly life forever.
The evening after the accident Parry phones Joe and proclaims his love for him. Thinking nothing of it, Joe hangs up and pushes the call to the back of his mind. Parry, however, becomes more and more determined and begins constantly phoning, writing to and stalking Joe. Joe finds himself becoming more and more unnerved by Parry's bizarre and obsessive behaviour, but with the police and even his girlfriend unable to believe him, even the reader begins to doubt the truth in Joe's tale. Just as you begin to doubt Joe's sanity, a close call between life and death hints that Parry's love may just turn deadly. Fearing for his life, Joe invests in some protection of an illegal nature, but shortly after, he discovers that his life is not the one that hangs in the balance.
McEwan has a fantastic ability to build pace, which he flaunts in the very first chapter in the novel. He controls time effortlessly, making it speed up or slow down seamlessly, which hints at what might be coming. Deviations between random thoughts, observations and drifts of everyday conversation ensure you that something dangerous is lurking just out of sight, and really draws you in to the story. As you start to doubt Joe's sanity you become convinced that you have already figured out McEwan's ending, which then twists suddenly and unexpectedly, making the story even more gripping. McEwan's way with words really compels you to read on due to the sheer beauty of the phrases and observations. A love story that almost brushes with tragedy, this novel is unlike any other. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone out there who wants to try something new.
Favourite quote: 'This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the time map: I was stretching out my hand, and as the cool neck and the black foil touched my palm, we heard a man's shout.'
I read this as part of my A Level English Language and Literature course and enjoyed this the most out of all of the books I read on the course. I bought it from Amazon for around 5 GBP. Most of the class paid around 8/9 GBP at WHSmiths if I remember correctly.
A motion picture has been made since release of the book, starring Daniel Craig as Joe Rose. However this review is about the book...
It has a strange story to it:
A balloon accident brings Jed and Joe to meet each other.
Jed is infatuated with Joe and believes Joe feels the same.
Joe believes Jed is a sufferer of De Clarembault's syndrome.
Joe get's increasingly agitated at Jed interrupting his daily life.
Joe and Clarissa fall out and go on a "break".
Jed goes into Joe's apartment and holds Clarissa at knife-point, meanwhile Joe has gone to get a gun for protection.
Joe returns home after Jed ringing and making Clarissa inform Joe of the situation.
Joe shoots Jed in the arm and is not charged.
In an appendix we learn Jed is still suffering from De Clarembault's in a psychiatric institution.
Obviously this is the story in the simplest form. It really is a good quality, interesting read which gives deep insight into different forms of love.
The main characters are:
Joe Rose, or "rational Joe" as Clarissa refers to him. He's a journalist who really wants to get back into science. You can see his interest in science and observing in his over-analysis of everything around him and use of scientific terms. He's the novel's main protagonist, McEwan makes him the narrator for the duration of the novel and we see him driven to madness, and almost to murder, by his stalker, Jed.
Jed Parry, the "angel". Jed is believed to be a sufferer of De Clarembault's, which means he convinces himself that another person is in love with him, in this case it's Joe. He stalks Joe, scarily. He leaves messages on Joe's answer-machine, rings him while he's stood outside looking through Joe's window, waits outside Joe's home and follows him. He's a voyeur of sorts, and he's the novel's antagonist. We realise Jed isn't mentally stable when he asks Joe to kneel, and pray, next to the body of John Logan. Our thoughts are confirmed when we witness Jed's voyeuristic habits due to De Clarembault's.
The novel can be read in many different ways, some of which aren't obvious on your first read, but after analysing the chapters you can read it differently, for example I thought Jed Parry was the mental one...but when analysing Chapter 9 in particularly, you can see that Joe is becoming increasingly mentally unstable too. Also, something for you to look out for, is Joe's unreliable narrative throughout the novel. An example of this is that at one point he declares a sorbet to be Lime, at another it has suddenly changed to Apple. McEwan is a great writer and structures this one perfectly.
There is also a religious reading you could follow, Jed believes he is a messenger of God, sent to bring Joe to realise there is a God, and to bring Joe to him. Even the name "Joe Rose" can be read religiously - "Rose" as in how Jesus "rose". This is completely up to you as an individual, and your beliefs will probably determine how you read the book.
You could read it the most common way, you could see Jed is a real person, he does have De Clarembault's and he does upset Joe's life significantly. However you may think Jed is a figment of Joe's imagination, as there is no solid evidence of Joe's presence. For example the messages on the answer machine have been "wiped", and Jed seems to just appear at the balloon accident, whereas McEwan explains why and how each of the othe characters present at the accident arrived there. Is Jed really an angel sent from God?
If you're interested in gore, romance, death or sex then this is a great book for you. It isn't a relatively big book, I managed to read it all within a few hours on a day off form school due to illness. I could not put the book down, I was so enthralled in what was going on in the story that I had to read and read until I got the answers to the questions McEwan was making me ask.
One phrase to describe the book would be: Beautifully structured
If I didn't have to read this book for my English course, I know for a fact that I wouldn't have read it out of my own accord. So I'm thankful that I had to read it. It doesn't look like a "man's book" from the cover, but you get really into it, and you start to feel for Joe and hope that things get better for him...he's being stalked by a man who believes he's an angel sent from God, he's mental, and Joe's accounts of Jed's interfering aren't being believed. Or maybe Jed isn't even there, maybe Joe's driven himself insane?
For part of my AS English Language and Literature exam I had to read Enduring Love. At first, I thought the book sounded rather interesting and I was keen to begin reading it, although it did not take me long to realise that it was not nearly as enjoyable as I had first though.
Enduring Love is a novel by Ian McEwan, and has also been released as a film under the same name. It tells the story of Joe Rose after an unfortunate ballooning accident, which brings him and a previously unknown man Jed Parry together. Parry suffers from a disorder known as deClarembault's syndrome, which makes the sufferer believe someone else is in love with them. Due to his syndrome Parry believes Joe loves him, which puts considerable strain upon Joe and his marriage to wife Clarissa.
As the novel develops the situation only worsens for Joe, with Parry taking even more extreme steps to deal with what he feels is Joe's devotion to him. To make matters worse, Clarissa refuses to believe Joe when he tells her that Parry is delusional - she believes it is Joe who is going crazy.
The book does have a dramatic ending, perhaps one of the best I have ever read - however this does not make up for how tedious the rest of the novel is. 95% of the 247 page novel is painful to read. Perhaps this is because I was having to study the novel, but I think if I had chosen to read it of my own accord I would not have even finished the book.
The character of Joe is a scientific writer and as such there are lengthy sections of the book devoted to Joe's ramblings about science - something which has never been of interest to me. Whilst some people may enjoy great paragraphs of McEwan's opinion on the hubble telescope, I did not. For me this was one of the two factors which ruined my enjoyment of the novel. The second was how overproduced the book felt. It seemed to me that McEwan aimed to produce a novel that appeared intellectual, almost as though every word had been changed using a thesaurus. This just gave me a headache whilst reading. It is neccesary to try and translate every section into understandable English. I know i'm moaning at intellect here, but usually I like to read a book to relax, something which was impossible to do here.
I will not criticise the book completely. The plot line is intriguing, if a little slow. McEwan has serious talent as a writer and if you are a fan of his work you will love this book. Unfortunately it just wasn't for me.
At the time of writing, Enduring Love can be purchased from Amazon for 4.85 (a very reasonable price for this book). The cover price is £7.99, which is what it is available from shops such as Waterstones for.
I read this book in college as part of my study for A levels. I have to admit, I found this book very interesting. At first I thought this was just going to be another boring book, and even after reading, I know many of my friends who did find this book boring, but for me, once I dived into the analysis a bit more and studied it in great depth, I actually found this an interesting plot.
Basically, it is about a man who is in a fairly loving relationship, but is stalked by an ill man who tears this relationship apart. It is written in a beautiful way so that the reader can really engage with the main character. It is suspicious, builds tension through its emotive language and vivid details, but also has an element of truth to it and makes you think about strength of relationships.
I think I bought this book for as cheap as a pound on Amazon if i remember correctly, and I would definitely recommend it.
The plot is interesting. The book is well written. And of course, Ian Mcewan is a well known and brilliant author. I have to admit, some of his other works are better in my opinion such as 'Atonement' however I would still purchase this book if you are looking for a good read when on a train or before bed at night. I would not recommend spending more than £10 for it though, so if you can get it cheaper, then try! The reason being is because the book can be tedious to some people as it sometimes drags out a bit with description rather than moving the plot onward.
The genre I would fit it into is probably thriller.
From the very beginning I could see that the novel was well constructed and it really engaged me because of the light but emotive language used as it provided a lot of imagery. I would recommend this book to somebody looking for a light read but one that builds up a lot of questions and emotions for the reader. Definitely for teens/young adults.
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan started off as a promising story of tragedy and unrequited love. The story starts with a thrilling opening sequence where a hot air balloon is out of control and men who have never met before are thrown together to try and save the young boy who is the occupant. Tragedy strikes when a man loses his life when one of the men lets go of the balloon rope and he plummets to his death. Joe the main character somehow catches the attention of Jed, a Christian who realizes he is in love with Joe. The story appears to have everything, sinister, calculated suspense, however, for me it seems to fall short. Joe is not a likable character and I feel that so much more could have been done with the story which ends with a clichéd ending that left me feeling let down. A promising book but it fell flat.
Ian McEwan is a well known British writer and this is one of his more popular works: it has recently been made into a successful film. I have been aware of this book for a while now as it is taught to A level students at the school where I teach. I'd toyed with the idea of reading it, having previously really enjoyed McEwan's 'Saturday' and 'Atonement', (although I was obscurely disappointed by 'On Chesil Beach',) but somehow knowing that it could be taught made it seem unsuitable for reading for pleasure! (A rather silly notion, I know, but there is something almost sacred for me about that dividing line between 'reading for work' and 'reading for pleasure'. It's annoying enough that I seem to spend a large amount of my leisure time spotting useful teaching resources!) It wasn't until 'Enduring Love' was selected by my book group that I decided to look past its possible academic merit and read it for simple enjoyment.
== The premise ==
Just for once I am going to cheat and copy the blurb as it encapsulates the premise of the novel so beautifully:
"One windy day in the Chilterns, Joe Rose's calm, organised life is shattered by a ballooning accident. The afternoon, Rose reflects, could have ended in mere tragedy but for his brief meeting with Jed Parry. Unknown to Rose, something passes between them - something that gives birth in Parry to an obsession so powerful that it will test to the limits Rose's beloved scientific rationalism, threaten the love of his wife Clarissa and drive him to the brink of murder and madness."
Obsession. Murder. Madness. Even skimming this through again now, I'm surprised that it took me so long to open the pages and start reading. I was particularly intrigued by the idea that there could potentially have been a 'mere' tragedy. How terrible must the unfolding events be to relegate tragedy to the status of 'merely' tragic? The whole point of tragedy is that it is momentous in scope, rather than simply being rather sad (although I'll admit that the term is used rather more loosely in the modern media) so I anticipated great and terrible drama from this story. Although the drama plays out between three principal characters, and is therefore deeply personal, the issues which unfold do seem to justify such elevated status, rendered powerfully as they are through McEwan's powerful and highly reflective prose. I thought the premise was highly intriguing, although it sounded as if the story could disintegrate into melodrama later on - which it never did.
== The opening chapter ==
The opening chapter begins with a precisely sketched moment, which is interrupted by a man's shout. There is a balloon in trouble and, although several people including Joe initially try to mount a rescue operation, the afternoon climaxes in an avoidable death. This seems terrible enough, but this is only the beginning as the ripples from this event spread outward. Lost in self reflection, Joe barely notices the intense young man who urges him to pray to a God he does not believe in. Retelling the dramatic tale takes the whole chapter, and it ends on a poignant note.
I found the opening chapter thoroughly engrossing. The build up to the actual accident is imbued with a sense of dread which results from a knowing narratorial voice, a voice which, moreover, does not want to confront the truth of that day, but also wishes to examine it in minute detail, leading to a certain degree of conflict within the character. (This sense of conflict recurs throughout the novel as the scientific minded Joe seeks to rationalise and control events.) The sense of foreboding created is powerful and I felt genuinely sad at the unnecessary loss of life. The foreshadowing is not overtly heavy, but McEwan does seek to control reader response and I can imagine that some readers might find the style slightly portentous. Personally, I felt that it was a highly engaging opening chapter and I read much of the rest of the book without stopping.
== Style ==
The opening chapter introduces us to McEwan's style as well as revealing the inciting moment. As events develop, the first person narrator, Joe, carefully controls his own response to the story by telling it in detailed, vivid sections. These memories are interspersed with highly personal reflections that help to show his reluctance to recall events and how they are weighted by his knowledge of what came later. Tension builds, then drops as Joe describes his idyllic walk with Clarissa. The tension builds again, then drops slightly as Joe introduces us to the other characters in the scene. Gradually, we move closer to the horrifying denouement.
I imagine that some readers may find the musing, highly introverted narrative style slightly lengthy and want to 'get to the action', but I found that the more drawn out approach intensified the drama of what must, in physical time, have taken place during less than three minutes. It was interesting to hear the way that Joe, a popular science writer who had degrees in serious science, interpreted the events around him and strove to reach rational interpretations. He considers the value of altruism, social co-operation and cohesion. Even he is wryly amused to find that he thinks about another character's 'genetic investment' when analysing his choices. I found this particularly appealing as, in a way, these are 'inappropriate' thoughts, of the kind that we all have but don't tend to share as they don't address the dominant mode of the social situation (in this instance, fear).
== Characterisation ==
The main characters are Joe, Clarissa and Jed. There are some significant minor characters. I found the way each character acted to be convincing; even Jed's religious fervour was chillingly believable. Although the narration is first person, McEwan allows you to see beyond this by including letters and, in one memorable chapter, by presenting Clarissa's thoughts and feelings in the third person through Joe's perspective. This is a timely device which allows us to empathise with Clarissa and prevents us from feeling that she is being as unsupportive as Joe believes her to be. In fact, I particularly enjoyed the way that Clarissa's perspective is created here, and later in a letter from her, as her slant on Joe's behaviour is very revealing and may actually lead the reader to begin to question Joe's sanity and the extent to which he is responsible for the developments in Jed's obsession. Even in the final chapter, after Joe feels he has been vindicated and the reader may very well feel the same, Clarissa's viewpoint leads the reader to question whether events could have developed differently. I think this is a very clever device, but it doesn't come across as 'oh, look, here's clever trick', which happens to some writers; instead, it feels like a natural development, that Clarissa would feel that way and express her feelings in the manner she does. This switching between viewpoints meant I paused at times when I was reading, not out of boredom, but to better contemplate the different viewpoints. To me, this helps to create a highly successful novel.
Clarissa and Joe have very different viewpoints on science and its relationship to feeling, as do Joe and Jed. Their discussions are engaging, and, although I know some critics have suggested these discussions are unnecessary, bolted on and pretentious, I felt that they did arise naturally from the character's backgrounds and convictions. I also found them quite interesting, which I'm sure helped!
== Structure ==
As the novel continues it becomes darker in tone. Clarissa and Joe's relationship begins to fall apart and Jed becomes more threatening, although this is subtle enough that Joe is unable to garner any official interest. I began to question whether Joe might be creating Jed in his mind, which kept me neatly off balance. I felt that the first half of the book was the most enjoyable. The subtle undermining and destruction of the lovers' relationship is skilfully depicted and so plausibly written that I vowed to pay more supportive attention to my own husband in future!
Later on, events became much more dramatic. This seemed to happen rather suddenly and I was slightly unconvinced by Joe's actions in the final few chapters. I was also slightly irritated by McEwan's conspicuous use of the 'don't-tell-the-reader-what-the-character-is-buying-til-the-end-of-the-chapter' technique. As far as I am concerned, foreboding and foreshadowing are generally effective; blatantly withholding information to create a dramatic finale is a bit secondary school. This is a very minor niggle though. The dramatic developments certainly held my attention, especially as there was still a question mark over Joe's perceptions.
== The ending ==
Is Joe imagining Jed? Will Clarissa leave Joe? I won't spoil the ending, but it is worth knowing that it is slightly abrupt and some readers may find it rather unsatisfactory. I was slightly disappointed myself as I wanted a more personal resolution. Instead, at the wrapping up point, we move to an appendix of fake documents. There is a learned article on a medical syndrome and a letter from one of the characters. I wonder whether McEwan was trying to make some sort of point about science needing tempering by emotion (the coldness of the article is disquieting after having felt the emotions of the characters it describes), or whether he simply felt his story was told. Those of you who don't like open endings can rest assured that the loose ends are tied up in these appendices; my complaint is simply that I felt it an unsatisfactorily brief conclusion after the delightfully detailed story.
== My conclusions ==
Perhaps aside from a few dramatic incidents near the end, this is a convincingly written and often enthralling tale of the aftermath of a shocking event. However, the balloon accident is, in some respects, irrelevant; what McEwan really explores is the conflict between reason and emotion, and the necessity for basic human sympathy. The opening is gripping and the tale nicely paced. It benefits from the writer's use of foreshadowing and a highly reflective narrator. It might not teach you about ballooning (apparently McEwan gets his facts wrong here) but it may make you more aware of others' mental states. It loses a mark in my mind for burying the ending in an appendix, but it is a powerfully told story. Recommended.
I started reading this book for my A Level English Literature course and at first had been told it was 'boring' by fellow students. As i continued to read it i found out this wasn't case at all.
The book follows Joe Rose a science writer whose life if nearly shattered into pieces after an unfortunate baloon accident where he begins to be stalked by a mysterious Jed Parry.
The first chapter, which alone could stand for a short story in its self, is described in such avid detail that you know McEwan is a write of such rare skill. As the story continues it is written in such a way to suggest confusion in the reader and provide a fascinating mystery and story whose genre ranges from Romance and Phsycological thriller.
The book has a few boring bits such as the occasional detailed scientific descriptions whioch most of us will feel bored by. I however was interested by it due to m interest in nuclear fusion, for example.
Overall, its an excellent book. A must for a McEwan fan as well as anyone looking for a book something different to the generic phsycological thriller.
Will now be moving onto Atonement.
Ian McEwan is commonly regarded as one of the finest contemporary British writers, with novels such as Amsterdam, Atonement and On Chesil Beach having either won or been shortlisted for prestigious awards such as the Booker and Whitbread prizes. One of McEwan's most popular novels, Enduring Love was not shortlisted for any of the major prizes, but it became a bestseller and has been made into a very successful film starring Daniel Craig and Rhys Ifans.
The opening chapter of the book contains some of the most dramatic and evocative paragraphs that I have ever read. McEwan plunges straight into the action with no scene-setting and no preamble. Joe and Clarissa are sitting in a field, enjoying a picnic on an idyllic summer's day. Suddenly they hear a shout, and looking upwards, see a hot air balloon, broken free from its moorings with its ropes trailing. Inside is a frightened boy and across the fields, four men are desperately running towards the trailing ropes. Silently, Joe starts to run with them - five strangers brought together by a random gust of wind. As each of them grabs onto a rope, the balloon is again taken by the wind and they find themselves hoisted into the air, having to make a desperate decision in a couple of seconds - should they let go, or be lifted hundreds of feet into the air by the wind? All the men let go except one, and it is the traumatic results of this decision that first bring Joe together with the man who will change his life; Jed Parry. The strange encounter and the shock of the ensuing tragedy have a catastrophic effect on Jed, affecting his behaviour for ever. Already suffering from mental issues, Jed becomes Joe's stalker, invading his privacy, interrupting his work, destroying his relationship with Clarissa, and eventually driving Joe himself to the brink of madness. Joe is a scientist - used to logic and to rational thought. Suddenly he finds that he is the subject of an irrational love; a love which twists the truth and misinterprets every glance and gesture. Jed watches Joe's every movement from a distance, interpreting even the brush of his hand along a hedge as a special message. This is true madness, and it is something that the scientist in Joe just cannot deal with.
It is the detail of Enduring Love that makes it a fascinating read. The truth of the balloon incident and its repercussions gradually unravel like a knotted string; slowly and painfully McEwan takes us away from the incident, and back again, as we look at what happened through different eyes. At times we are unsure who is telling the truth - who is mad, whose vision has become distorted, who we can trust. After the movement and action of the first chapter, the rest of the book almost comes as an anticlimax, but the tension gradually creeps back into the narrative, as we realise the true extent of the threat that is presented by Jed. After the first chapter, McEwan takes time and care to build up a picture of the characters so that we can understand the chaos that Jed brings to their orderly lives. Jed is suffering from a mental condition called De Clerambault's Syndrome - but Ian McEwan made up this condition for the purposes of his novel, even taking the trouble to write a spoof psychiatric journal article which fooled the literary reviewers. This level of detail makes the novel completely convincing, and totally terrifying.
The novel is not only a story of obsession, it is an analysis of relationships. The enduring love of the title can be seen as the supposed love that Jed has for Joe, but also as the strength of the relationship between Joe and Clarissa. How strong does such a relationship have to be to survive the kind of menace and turmoil that a man like Jed can bring? If your partner tells you that a stranger believes that he is sending a message every time he closes the curtains, but there is no evidence - do you doubt his sanity or do you believe him? Ultimately the novel is an exploration of the way in which an ordinary and intelligent man responds to turmoil and madness. Which of us believes that we could handle the situation any better?
Enduring Love was published in paperback by Vintage in 1998.
247 pages, ISBN: 0099276585
Enduring Love *
Being an English As student , and having to study Enduring Love in detail I thought it would be a good idea to WRITE a review about it because I am so familiar with the book. I also decided to write this review as I have my english exams in a couple of days and one of the exams is based on writing something like a review , and the other paper is about Enduring Love , so I figured that by writing a review on this book would be good practise for both papers. I just hope my review doesn't turn out to be too essay-like!
The book was written by a famous British author named Ian McEwan. McEwan was born on June 21st 1948 in Aldershot. He is an author and screenwriter. He has been writing since 1975. His writing comes under the recent history genre. Other books by McEwan include :
First Love , Last Rites
In Between The Sheets
The Cement Garden
The Comfort of Strangers
The Child In Time
Enduring Love - The cover *
On the top right hand corner of the book is a red/brown coloured hot air balloon in the sky. Below the balloon is a man clinging on to the balloons rope. The background of the cover is of a dark blue sky with grey clouds. On the centre of the cover are the words in large red capitals "Ian McEwan" and underneath his name is the book title in a blue more bolder font than the author's name.
On the bottom of the cover is an opinion of the book by Bill Bryson from the Sunday Times. It reads :
" I cannot remember the last time that I read a novel so beautifully written or utterly compelling from the very first page "
Other opinions on the back include : " McEwan's exploration of his characters' lives and secret emotions is a virtuoso display of fictional subtlety and intelligence" - Observer
" 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 anu sleep that night" - As Byatt , Literary review.
I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover , however on this occasion I'm sorry to say I did. My first impression of the book is that it was something I wouldn't consider reading. If I'm honest I thought it was a book aimed at perhaps male adults , however , wanting to study AS English meant I had to read this book , so I bought it ; from WH Smith for a price of £7.99 , quite expensive considering it wasn't something I wanted to buy.
We were meant to read the book before starting work on it , although I only skimmed over it. I usually enjoy reading , but this just didn't appeal to me , so I didn't read the whole book , just bits of it.
When we did start doing work on it in class though and realised what the novel was about , I thought it sounded quite good and that's when I read it. I therefore think that my review may be helpful to someone else , who wouldn't find the book appealing , however once someone else's has explained it a bit , they change their mind , and decide to read it , like I did.
* Enduring Love - The Story *
* Important characters in the story : Joe , Clarissa and Jed *
Joe is presented as - Well educated , classy , rich , selfish and hard working.
Clarissa is presented as - Classy , in love and scared.
Jed is presented as - Weird , obsessive and dangerous
Enduring Love begins with the couple the story is about , Joe and Clarissa having a picnic in a field to celebrate their reunion. However their life is turned upside down when they witness a balloon accident. Joe is one of the men who runs to try and help the man in the balloon , and while doing so meets a man named Jed Parry ? However this incident puts strain on Joe and Clarissa's relationship , but why ? Will they split up or will they be strong enough to get through it as a couple ?
The story is written in first person. Joe the main character is the narrator. This allows us to see how Joe feels about what is happening around him , which is interesting as the book is based around his life. Joe is presented as a confused and controlling man. Joe is also considered to be a selfish man with his "every man for himself" attitude. As a narrator Joe could be considered unreliable at times , however this adds extra tension to the novel. One thing which I like about the fact that Joe is the narrator is that we can see how Jed is affecting Joe. However saying this , McEwan has written some chapters from other characters point of view which I find is interesting.
McEwan uses effective descriptions in the novel. For example ; " I see us from three hundred feet up , through the eyes of the buzzard we had watched earlier , soaring , circling and dipping in the tumult of currents...". I like this description because it's contrasting between the view the man in the hot air balloon in the sky is seeing. There are also a few hints at the beginning that show that image is going to affect the main character , Joe ; " I've never seen such a terrible thing as that falling man!".
There are many themes in the novel such as : love , crime , children , fear ect. I think this is good , because there is something for everyone in this novel , whether your favourite type of novel is romance or crime there's something here for everyone.
There are two appendixes included in the novel. These are to inform the readers of what happens years later from where the novel ended.
Once that I'd read the book I found it interesting , however it took me ages to get into it , as I was constantly thinking , this is not my type of book at all, but then once we had gone through it in class and I'd read it again I enjoyed it and looked forward to working on the book in class.
I think the story is original and well thought up. I like how there are different themes in the novel and how tension is created. Although I enjoyed the book , I found it difficult when writing essays as there were so many events taking place in the novel that it was confusing at times , and hard to remember absolutely everything. There are so many clever twists in the novel , that a times it can be difficult to keep up especially if you switch off for a while when reading it. However I wouldn't really call it a good book to study for AS Level , yes it's a good book but rather difficult to study although interesting , however I think it's a great book , just as something to do in your leisure.
This book contains swear words and other mild language , and therefore I would not really recommend it to those under the age of 14 or 15.
Enduring Love was made into a film in 2004 starring Daniel Craig.
* Memorable Quotes *
Joe: You're mad.
Jed: That's what they said about Jesus once.
Joe: They also said it about a lot of mad people.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Joe: [lookin' up from the baby] She smiled at me.
Rachel: Don't get excited. She's just hungry. It's biology, remember.
Joe: No, it's not. It's not biology. It's fantastic.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Thanks for reading , I hope this review doesn't seem too much like an essay!
Joe Rose is a science journalist, in a long term relationship with Clarissa who is coming back from the US that fateful day when the story of 'Enduring Love' begins. Their welcome countryside picnic goes awry when Joe becomes involved in a ballooning accident in which one of the rescuers is killed.
So we already have the set-up, when something - a tragedy - invades the seemingly comfortable and ordered lives of his characters. But it's not a mere tragedy, it's not the accident that turns Joe's life upside down, it's the fact that Jed Parry, a fellow rescuer seems to have developed an obsessive passion for Joe, a passion which only after a time Joe manages to identify as an instance of De Clerambault's Syndrome or erotomania.
The bulk of the novel deals with Joe's experience of being stalked by Jed Parry, and the resulting fallout - the way it affects his relationship with Clarissa, makes him reconsider his work life, but also the way it affects his feelings and ideas about the nature of reality. The story is told from Joe's perspective and the reader tends to generally trust Joe's version of events to have some connection to reality. Despite that, most of the time I had a doubt - just a tiny one - as to the actual reality of the stalking. It took a lot to make me 100% sure it was really happening; the grotesque and out-of-different genre finale was almost necessary to reassure me of Joe's sanity.
I read 'Enduring Love' in a day, like a thriller impossible to put down, even though it's classified as high-brow literature. McEwan knows how to create suspense: the breathless, scary kind; more scary because the sense of foreboding is realistic rather than taken from some ridiculous horror story.
Apart from the suspense, Enduring Love has so much more, though.
It's a meditation on the nature of love, with the relationship of Joe and Clarissa described in ultra realistic if somehow dry and subtle terms. The sequences of events leading to conflict, the inevitability of misunderstanding, the inscrutability of emotions, the birth of mistrust, and - of course - the fundamental and unavoidable self-centeredness of love. In many ways, the obsessive 'love' of the stalker who 'knows better than you what you feel' is a parody of our 'normal' romantic love, it's a monstrous mirror but a mirror nevertheless. How many times do we find ourselves believing that gestures mean more than words, that there is a deeper meaning in everything, that our beloved, or God for that matter can speak to us in signs? And how difficult it is, even for the most rational amongst us, to get rid of such delusions?
I have seen interpretations of this novel that see it as some kind of affirmation of the spiritual but I couldn't see anything like that in it, to me such an interpretation would be wishful thinking. As does the more recent 'Saturday', 'Enduring Love' ends in a triumph of the rational, in fact the novel can be read as an affirmation of the rational, as a plea against the insanity of emotional and spiritual delusion.
The religious angle of Parry's mania is supremely important here as is the fact that Joe is a science writer: after all the novel portrays not only erotic but also religious passion as madness, after all Jed Parry is not only a delusional stalker, he is also a (deluded) believer and despite all the cracks that appear on the smooth surface of Joe's rational personality, the last words (and the last bullet) belong to him, the atheist, the rationalist. In the final count, Parry is nothing more than a pathetic loony. This was very satisfactory to me, as many writers succumb to a temptation of showing a character in crisis turn to one or another kind of religious solace or experiencing doubt.
I would say that of the two of McEwan's manifestos of rationalism I still preferred 'Saturday'; but this one was also an excellent book, concise, readable, definitely brilliant.
I was not bothered by what some readers might see as over-researched character of the book as I have a childish liking for 'edutainment' elements even in literary works (that's why I like David Lodge too) which overrides any composition defects that might be caused by inclusion of long research quotations and explanations.
Also, for people of passionate religious/spiritual persuasion and the ones for whom scientific angle on life is not a natural one the almost-triumphant rationalism of 'Enduring Love' might be an unacceptable simplification.
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Joe Rose and Clarissa Melon have been in a relationship for 7yrs and one day as Joe is picking Clarissa from the airport , a chance encounter with a ballooning accident changes their relationship. The accident runs the story inot three storylines, each involving people affected by the accidet. Jed Parry is one of the people who coincidentally helps out at the scene of the accident. He is a loner and he falls in love with Joe and his homo erotic fixation makes him beleive that God planned for Jed and Joe to be together. His obsession gets more and more dangerous as the story progresses leading into a psychological thriller, where the recipient of the love is ironically damaged by the love which he himself finds fascinating. Joe's secrecy at the start of the nightmare leads Clarissa into thinking that he does not trust her. This initially drives them apart. After Jed discovers his love is not going to be rekindled, he gets bitter and unsuccessfully attempts to take Joe's life. Like a typical horror story, Joe is the only one who beleives Jed is dangerous. He is proved right when Jed holds Clarissa hostage and the thriller that had picked up pace comes to an end to be replaced by romantic genre. Jean Logan is the widow in the story who beleives her husband died while on his way to a picnic with his mistress. Like a typical detective series, McEwan uses this storyline to create a character who is obsessed about finding out the truth. At the end of the book, Jean Logan's is brought out of the dark but left for the worse as she seeks forgiveness from someone who is dead. Her grief re-unites the two lovers, Clarissa and Joe and the aftermath of the main storyline is explained in the two appendices. McEwan is very clever in his mixing of genres in this gripping book. We discover that no one genre in the book could've stood out on its own without the other genres, hence the message in the book which points out that Science and art can&
#39;t stand on their own. The antagonistic relationship between these two parts of life is what drives Joe and Clarissa apart. The book when read carefully left me thinking about it for a long time unlike other novel. It question human rationality and blurs the line between the sane and insane, sometimes making the victim and the attacker(Jed) look quite similar in their obsessions with certain areas of life. I enjoyed this book very much and thefact that I did it for my exams made it exceptional. I would recommend it to anyone who loves gripping storylines with plenty of suspense. It is a great book to read at any time.
I'll admit that I had high expectations of this. Two of my friends loved it. I kept reading reviews describing it as a modern classic. Which means that, now that I've finished it, I can't help but think that there's either something wrong with the rest of the world, or with me. And because I'm a raging egomaniac, I'm going to guess that it's the former. What's bad about Enduring Love? Maybe it's my own fault for going into it expecting something great, but it's too long, it drags, there are far too many sections that one finds oneself skim-reading, and it could be seen as rather offensive. I'd heard about this great opening scene, but even that didn't impress. It's somewhat interesting - the novel's narrator and his common-law wife witness a ballooning accident in which a man is killed - but it doesn't really command attention. What follows sounds like it'll be good. I really liked the premise behind the book: the protagonist gets stalked by another man who saw the accident. But it didn't work out here, possibly because McEwan's too busy trying to cram Big Ideas into his novel. So here's the main Big Idea behind the book: it deals with the struggle between science, religion and art. Now that could be good, right? But on such a small scale, it can't work. Here, McEwan uses one character to symbolise science, one for religion, and one for art. Such a large idea needs a wider scope, especially as the character symbolising religion is the crazy stalker. I don't know if McEwan was setting out trying to offend the enormous amount of religious people in the world or not, but there's no way that one could describe the struggle that takes up most of the book as balanced. Besides, making this character a devo
ut Christian ruins the suspension of disbelief necessary to read this book. I can buy the fact that people get stalked nowadays, but when the stalker's sole motivation is his religion, it starts looking shaky. His suspected mental illness starts to feel rather dubious after a while, too. The other reason that Enduring Love is tough going is the long science-based passages, which often feel out of place. I could deal with them, though, were it not for the fact that after the first couple of chapters, nothing happens. There's the ballooning incident, then the protagonist starts getting stalked. The stalking continues. And continues. And continues. And cont - yeah, you get the idea. There's a subplot involving the widow of the man killed in the balloon which goes nowhere because McEwan doesn't give it enough room to go anywhere. The conflict between the protagonist and his partner is the only part of this novel that feels real, and even then only at times. But really, the worst thing about this book is the fact that it's so forgettable. Within a day of finishing it, I stopped thinking about Enduring Love. A lot of the time, reading it felt like a chore - especially when, at times, I was struck by what a good book this COULD have been.
What is a rhetorical question? It’s a question to which the answer is self-evident, obvious, clear. An example? Have you read all the books standing on your bookshelves? Another one: have you bought new books nevertheless? I’d like to propose to change the cat ‘Where do you buy your books?’ into ‘Where do you get your books from?’, one answer could be: from my own overcrowded bookshelves! That’s what happened to me before my last hols. I was browsing through my ‘unreads’ and chanced on Enduring Love. Ian McEwan, wasn’t that the Amsterdam chappie two of my dooyoo friends disagree so heartily about? Why I bought the book is not a rhetorical question, but an unanswerable one. It must have been on Camden Lock market three years ago; I didn’t know the name of the author then, that’s for sure, and the cover of the pocketbook is one of the ugliest I’ve ever seen. At the bottom is a dark brown stripe of 3,5 cm into which the name of the author is written in white letters and the title of the book in pink(!) ones. The remaining space of the cover has the colour of dirty yellow, or what in my idiolect (my personal use of the language) is called chicken shit (can’t find the asterisk on my key-board!). On this off-putting background is the drawing of a balloon in black pencil, the upper half of which can also be seen as a huge eye with the apple turned heavenwards. It’s creepy which is a good thing as far as it is an introduction to the theme, but isn’t the art of cover design to introduce the theme, but in an attractive way which sells? Well, what am I saying here, everything speaks against buying that book, but buy it I did. So it was maybe the ugliness which did it. The opening scene is brilliant, very gripping. Joe Rose, a middle aged, scientific journalist, is having a picnic on a field with his girlfriend Clarissa when sudd
enly a balloon accident occurs. - A balloon pilot sees it as his duty to inform the internet readers that “Balloons do not fly in the condition he (McEwan) describes. Conditions he describes do not occur. Balloon pilots do none of the things he describes.” Ah, well, we’re in the world of fiction here, aren’t we? But it’s a bit embarrassing nevertheless as throughout the book McEwan conveys the feeling that he’s done his homework and researched his background material, too much so even. More of that later. Joe and some other men run to the balloon and try to help. One of the would-be rescuers is a certain Jed Parry who instantly becomes obsessed with him; he’s a fundamentalist religious fanatic who wants to save the atheistic Joe. When he asks him to say a prayer with him (there has been a fatality), Joe finds it a bit odd, but thinks nothing much of it, he doesn’t know yet that Perry won’t let go of him, will cling to him like a leech and nearly ruin his whole life. The novel is told in the first person perspective from Joe’s point of view (with the exception of one chapter told by Clarissa), I must say that the portrayal of a stalker and what he can do to someone’s/everyone’s life gives me the creeps. We read a lot about people stalking celebrities these days, but never have I found a profound analysis in a newspaper report. The condition which McEwan describes is, apparently, a real one. De Clerambault’s Syndrome was named after the French doctor who first identified the disorder when he treated a woman who was convinced that George V (whom she had never met) was in love with her. The description of the relationship Joe - Jed would make for a good read. The title uses the word ‘love’; what is so alarming about Jed’s disease is that his doings are so close to ordinary infatuation and romantic attachment. But McEwan is not content wit
h this story or doesn’t trust it to be substantial enough; he interweaves two subplots, one about the widow of the balloon pilot killed in the accident and the troubled relationship of Joe and Clarissa. I could bear with that, what really gets me is the vast amount of scientific information. Now that I know McEwan hasn’t got the balloon thingy correct, can I believe him when it comes to the other subjects he deals with? Joe Rose could have any profession, McEwan has made him a science journalist, solely, in my opinion, to be able to cram as much highbrow intellectual stuff into the novel as possible. - I found this sentence scribbled on a piece of stationery from the hotel on Tenerife where I had read the book during my Christmas hols. Before writing the op, I had a look at what google had collected on Enduring Love, but when I saw 1740 entries, I decided not to go into that, just some clicks at random. Luck led me to a critique by Cressida Conolly (does anyone know her?) who wrote “...I’d like to call for an immediate, worldwide moratorium on novelists reading works on science. Like oceans plundered of whales, science books have become over-fished by voracious, imaginative writers. You can’t pick up a novel these days without being bombarded by Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, or the latest theories on Darwinism. Popular science now occupies ample shelf-room in every bookshop and a prominent place in best-seller lists. Novelists should tell us stories, not recite particle physics. I’m all in favour of the novel of ideas, but at least let the ideas be the author’s own. An author’s individuality is drowned in this sea of science. Much as I enjoyed Enduring Love, I missed Ian McEwan.” I wouldn’t be afraid to voice my opinion if nobody shared it, it’s nice, though, to see that I’m not alone. Last, but not least: the novel is at times not a smooth read,
it occasionally lacks what I’ve detected in Alan Isler (see op), a born storyteller who can combine information (yes, why not?) and enjoyment, the one can’t be separated from the other. No matter what he decides to tell us we follow him willingly. With Enduring Love we notice the construction and hear it creaking so-to-speak. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany’s literary biggie (1749-1832) said in one of his plays: “We sense the intention and we’re annoyed.”
An Ian McEwan fanatic recommended Enduring Love as one of his best creations. I haven’t read any other books of his but I wasn’t very impressed with this one! Admittedly there are some very exciting passages in the book, particularly the opening section – so thrilling that you become engrossed in seconds. There is also a lot of humour in this book, and very interesting contrasts between the insanity of a ‘bible basher’ in comparison to that of a fanatical materialist. This contrast and other intriguing elements could have made this book good, but it lets itself down in many other areas. Probably what I found most annoying in the novel was how unrealistic the relationship between two of the main characters was, particularly since many events occur as a result of its unconvincing instability. Nevertheless, I was impressed by McEwan’s close analysis of the relationship, even if it was unrealistic, and of human behaviour and emotions in general. Overall an insightful novel in many ways but not a particularly satisfying read – the ending was disappointing!