Martine's Reviews > Enduring Love

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
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's review
Jan 17, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: british, modern-fiction, psychological-drama, film
Recommended for: people who like psychological thrillers
Read in January, 2005

Ian McEwan is at his best when he writes about obsession, and here he does just that. Enduring Love is the story of Joe Rose, a science journalist who gets involved in a freak ballooning accident in which a man dies. This fact alone is enough to plunge him into shock and feelings of guilt, but if that weren't enough, he also gets to deal with a stalker -- a man he met briefly at the site of the accident and who has since become convinced that they are meant to be together. Before the day of the accident is even over, Joe receives his first phone call from the smitten man, and that is just the beginning. Soon he has to decide whether his stalker is just a pathetic weirdo or a dangerous freak... and if he is even there at all.

Enduring Love is McEwan's most case-study-like novel to date. A compelling psychological exploration of guilt and obsession, rationality versus instinct, and science versus religious faith, it paints a powerful picture of the relationship between the two men and the choices they each make on their way to the disturbing finale. It's not just about the two men, though. Equally interesting (and important) is the relationship between Joe and his girlfriend, which starts disintegrating as soon as the stalker enters the stage -- a brilliant case of a stranger coming between two people who love each other and turning them into strangers, too. The second half of the book feels a bit unfocused at times, but even so it's a great story -- a worthy entry in McEwan's impressive oeuvre.
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