UK Kirkus Review »
A science writer is involved in a ballooning accident and becomes the object of obsession for an evangelical Christian. The usual McEwan themes - rationalism versus religion, the ambivalence of male desire, what the human body looks like when subjected to brutal violence - are explored in his customary cool prose although the dark menace of his greatest work is missing here. (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » A sad, chilling, precise exploration of deranged love, by the author of, among other works, the novels The Innocent (1990) and Black Dogs (1992). Joe Rose, a middle-aged science writer, takes his wife Clarissa to London's Hampstead Heath for a picnic - and stumbles into a tragedy when a man and his young grandson, on a jaunt by balloon, get into serious trouble. Joe is among the bystanders who race to seize the balloon, which is damaged, close to the ground, and being pushed by high winds toward a precipice. One of the rescuers dies. In the aftermath, Joe exchanges words with Jed Parry, a deeply disturbed young man among those who came rushing to help. Isolated, independently wealthy, Parry has attempted to suppress his homosexual inclinations by immersing himself in a fervent and very personal version of Christianity. Parry quickly fixates on Joe, and, deciding that he is meant to be the means by which Joe, a nonbeliever, will be brought back to God, Parry begins haunting him. He shadows Joe's movements around London, loiters outside his apartment, constantly leaves messages and letters. It's not only God's love that Parry believes he's carrying; he's also, in a confused and only partially conscious manner, convinced that Joe loves him and knows everything about him. Joe's increasingly angry attempts to rid himself of Parry seem to the obsessed man only another test of his devotion, while Joe and Clarissa's marriage begins to crumble under the strain, as do their careers. Finally, a desperate Parry decides he must get rid of Clarissa and, possibly, even Joe himself. In lesser hands, the story might be overwrought and unbelievable, but McEwan's terse, lucid prose and sure grasp of character give resonance to this superb anatomy of obsession and exploration of the mind under extreme circumstance. Painful and powerful work by one of England's best novelists. (Kirkus Reviews)
Book Review: Enduring Love by Ian McEwan - Reviewed by CloggieA (06 Dec 2011)
Enduring Love is the 7th novel by Ian McEwan. The novel tells of the aftermath of a ballooning accident. Joe Rose and his partner Clarissa are on a picnic in a meadow when an unpiloted hot-air balloon with a small child on board drifts their way. Several men run to assist, and one of them dies. Joe encounters Jed Parry, who fixates on him and is convinced that they love each other and Jed is destined to bring Joe to God. This is an interesting novel which questions what legally constitutes harassment and stalking, and illustrates how obsessive love can be just as frightening as obsessive hate. I found McEwan’s Atonement irritating and annoying, so I picked this book up to give him a second chance, and I am not sorry I did. I enjoyed this much more than Atonement, although I did find some parts tedious or irrelevant e.g the procuring of the gun. I would suggest to readers who routinely ignore appendices that they read both in this case as they are an integral part of the novel.