Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

Enduring LoveA recent conversation I had centered on the current prevalence of self-serving individuals in all-encompassing aspects of today’s society.  And while Enduring Love was written more than two decades ago, its characters share the similar and quite unattractive trait of being wrapped up in themselves.

What begins with what should have been a lovely outdoor picnic unravels into a tragic accident and follows with an extremely unhealthy obsession recognized by only one man who must turn to his own self-interests when he realizes he is on his own.

Joe Rose, the book’s central figure is a science writer who waxes nostalgic over his desire to return to scientific academia.  His life is upended when an enjoyable day out turns disastrous and results in an encounter that will test Joe’s mettle and take him to the dark side of survival tactics.

Clarissa seems more concerned with her research than the well-being of her partner, Joe.  She does not take Joe’s concerns to heart, and in fact, begins to get him to doubt himself.  Her self involvement and failure to acknowledge the threat just beyond their door ends up jeopardizing them both.

Possibly suffering from de Clerambault Syndrome, Jed Parry has fixated on Joe Rose after he interprets a millisecond’s glance as a signal of enduring love.  Starting with phone messages and then with planting himself outside of Joe’s residence, Jed eventually turns violent as his condition consumes his life.

Mr. McEwan certainly is a gifted writer and while I expected a less than tidied up ending, that is what was, sadly, delivered.  I’d like to ask him where life would have taken him had he not become an author and wonder if he regrets not pursuing a career in the sciences.

My rating for Enduring Love is a 7 out of 10.

Please share your own reviews or comments by using the Leave A Comment link below.

Next up, Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of LossThe Inheritance of Loss

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