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Enduring Love- Ian McEwan



Posted August 28, 2016 by

Enduring Love – Ian McEwan – 1997

Reviewed by: Jon Elias        Date: 15 July 2003

The author is Ian McEwan. Distinguished English writer, and known for his intelligent, compelling works like The Cement Garden, The Child in Time (winner of the Whitbread Prize), Amsterdam (Booker Prize), and the highly praised Atonement.

 (Of course, you might say, with all these book-titles under his belt, what can possibly go wrong with this one)

ENDURING LOVE, the author’s ninth novel, is the story of Joe Rose, disciple of scientific rationalism (“You’re so rational sometimes you’re like a child”), who becomes an object of desire (devotion according to the New York Times, 25.01.98) of a mad, “Jesus freak”, Jed Parry.

Parry’s personal belief that there’s something between them- an unspoken love “as strong as steel cable”- is so powerful, so convincing that it is threatening the stability of Rose’s relationship with his partner, Clarissa.

The fruits of Parry’s obsession is so terrifying that sometimes I, as the reader, wonders whether such an expression of desire is possible. Could it be that Rose is just imagining things?

(Apparently not, and Rose gave us a name for this kind of obsession, de Clerambault’s syndrome. NOTE: I suggest that you finish the book first before investigating the nature of this mental illness)

There are times when you need to be patient with this book. Discussions, often long ones, ranging from Einstein to Keats to the Shroud of Turin will surely turn off some readers. Furthermore, don’t expect shocking, melo-dramatic scenes in this novel. The intensity of McEwan’s narration is so controlled and subtle that one might find it frustrating.

Nevertheless, ENDURING LOVE is an intelligent, compelling thriller. A fine novel that deserves to be read. McEwan should be congratulated for creating this novel.

Four stars from me.


Reviewed by: David              Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002

I just finished one of the best books I’ve read in a long long time, Enduring Love by Ian McEwan. Wow, it is just fabulous. This being my third McEwan book, I would have to say it is the best so far. And I’ve figured out a term I would use to summarize what McEwan does with his writing. He makes us consider antecedent causes. Makes you think about “what went before”.This happened because of this, that happened because of that, and so on. Results or consequences escalate in a measure that seems impossible to predict. All authors do this to some extent, I mean, that’s what “plot” is all about… but McEwan could teach others to do it better!

With Black Dogs it is the incident with the vicious dogs on the path. With Amsterdam a lot of the consequences have to do with the seemingly innocuous pact made between the two men.

Here in Enduring Love, this ballooning accident sets in motion events that no-one (especially the characters themselves) would have ever been able to predict. In a MILLION years. This is truly a brilliant book about fanatical obsession and the insidious way that a loving relationship can be ruined by forces from the OUTSIDE of that relationship. This happened in a more roundabout way in the other two books we’ve read, but here in Enduring Love it’s right up front. Wow, it’s just an amazing book.

I can’t wait for Atonement to come out in paperback. This author is topnotch.


Review by: Anna                   Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 

Dave, I am very pleased that you are so enthusiastic about Enduring Love. It is my favourite McEwan, too, and as far as I am concerned it is among the best recent books I have read in the past few years. What McEwan shows us here is quite original, I think. Everybody knows that witnessing a senseless death can traumatize people, shock them, get them to review their lives, but what happens here is at once much more unexpected, much more subtle and still very believable. This could happen to anybody and they could do very little about it.


ReadLit Team


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