Book 932 Ian McEwan – Enduring Love

I first read Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love in 2005 and I promptly got bored after 50 pages or so as I thought that the language was way too flowery for my tastes. At the time I was going through jobs and my mind could not focus on reading. Maybe that is no excuse but when your mind is on other things sometimes it can block out and dominate your life. However it seems that I have been given a second chance.

One fine sunny afternoon, Joe Rose, a Science Journalist, is settling down for a picnic with his girlfriend Clarissa (oooo a classical literary name!) and Joe discovers a hot air balloon being buffeted by the wind and comes rushing (with some other men) to help control the balloon.

Unfortunately they do not succeed and there is a fatality, As Joe is resignedly returning to the picnic he meets one of the men who helped him, Jed Parry. Jed then tries to coerce Joe to pray so that Logan (the fatality) will be saved. Joe refuses and this sparks of Jed’s obsession with him.

Parry then tries to declare his love to Joe by phoning him, trailing him and sending him passionate love letters, all which make Joe become intent on arresting Jed. This passion affects Clarissa, who thinks Joe his making too big a deal and their relationship begins to disintegrate. Finally Jed’s love for Joe reaches an unhealthy climax.

Enduring Love tackles all types of love, not only between Jed , Joe and Clarissa but even from the minor characters in the book. Logan’s widow , a hippie couple who Joe visits even between Clarissa’s brother. It seems that despite all the tests that life offers, love will remain the order of the day and will not disappear.

Although McEwan is known for his rather negative plots, the positivity Enduring Love exudes in its final chapter was a pleasant surprise. I too believe that love is a dominant and everlasting factor in our lives and if there are challenges it makes love stronger.

As always the language McEwan uses is beautiful. The opening chapters about the failed balloon mission is alone one of the best things I’ve ever read and will remain in memory for a long time. Not to mention other rather fantastic scenes. It seems with each sentence Enduring Love becomes more exciting and you are quickly drawn into the complex world of  Jed, Joe and Clarissa.

Enduring Love is a book which succeeds on every level is most definitely a classic.


6 thoughts on “Book 932 Ian McEwan – Enduring Love

  1. uncertainprinciples February 10, 2010 / 10:00 pm

    Oh, I want to read this. I went through a McEwan phase in 2008, where I read five of his books, but this wasn’t one of them. Nor was Child In Time. Thanks for the review – must up it in priority list NOW!

    • deucekindred February 11, 2010 / 4:57 am

      Oh yes – do read it ASAP – Actually i’ve read nearly all of McEwan’s books (except Black Dogs) and I found this one (and Cement Garden) to be his best. To be honest I didn’t really like A Child In Time too much

      • uncertainprinciples February 11, 2010 / 7:57 am

        I loved Cement Garden, as well as Atonement. Didn’t really enjoy On Chelsil Beach that much. Comfort of Strangers was slightly too weird for me…..

      • deucekindred February 11, 2010 / 8:55 am

        The comfort of Strangers reminded me of Nic Roegs Don’t look Now – have seen it?

        I find Atonement a bit disappointing, although I can see why that book struck a chord with many people and I consider it a contemporary classic. On Chesil Beach is a bit of a downer. Saturday is a very good novel though and worth checking out as well.

  2. lena February 11, 2010 / 5:07 am

    This sounds like the first McEwan book that I may actually be able to read. Usually, I don’t have the patience for his works. I can’t get into the prose or the story and that’s way before much character development is able to take place. This one sounds surprisingly like something I could work through.

    • deucekindred February 11, 2010 / 6:15 am

      Well if I should offer a word of warning. Enduring Love’s prose is still very flowery but McEwan doesn’t really meander here. However if you liked Cunningham’s The Hours then I see no reason you shouldn’t like this. Both authors have a knack of creating tangible descriptions. McEwan’s prose is a shade ugly at times though.

      Usually for the McEwan beginner I suggest the Cement Garden – It is fairly straightforward without any frills whatsoever BUT the subject matter makes people queasy.

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