‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan


I would probably end up in an institution myself, when I started reading this book I got more and more respect for the protagonist Joe Rose. Rose, a 47 years old science writer, is constantly chased and harassed by Jed Parry after a terrible ballooning accident. No, this is not an ordinary love story, but a complex union between two people who are totally not meant for each other. According to Jed, brought together by fate and according to Joe,  the end of his calm and orderly life with his lovely girlfriend Clarissa Mellon. Ian McEwan, author of Enduring Love, became  famous after his first books First Love and Last Rites with which he won the Somerset Maugham Award.

There’s one last thing I have to say to you. I’ve exploded into your life, just as you have into mine. You´re bound to wish it hadn’t happened. Your life is about to be upended. You have to tell Clarissa, you have to move all your stuff and you´ll probably want to get rid of most of it anyway…

Enduring Love, Ian McEwan, page 137.

Joe and Clarissa were unknowing on their ‘delicious’ picnic, when a terrible accident occurred. There were a number of people who were to the aid of, including Jed Parry. During the rescue operation, someone drops the ropes of the balloon, of course this person didn’t survive this. Parry, a 28 year old rentier, became  obsessed with Rose. But the confusing thing is that Jed has the rare Clérambault’s syndrome. This means that Jed thinks Joe really loves him. Jed sends him letters and passes his apartment almost every day. Of course  Clarissa doesn´t believe Joe because she never saw Jed, and she thought that Joe wrote the letters himself, this affects their relationship. In a desperate attempt, Jed tried to murder Joe and when this failed, he tried to kill Clarissa. This obviously did not succeed and Jed ends up in a psychiatric clinic. But is this really the end? Or the beginning of the end?

At breakfast I had read Parry’s letter,  then passed it to her. She seemed to agree with me that he was mad and that I was right to feel harassed. ‘Seemed’ because she was not quite whole-hearted, and if she said I was right – and I thought she did- she never really acknowledged that she had been wrong.

Enduring Love, Ian McEwan, page 100.


McEwan, born in Aldershot, Hampshire on 21 June 1948, began his career with the novels  The Cement Garden  and The Comfort of Strangers. His work is very much appreciated and he received therefore prizes as   Man Booker Prize , an Oscar and the Jerusalem Prize. McEwan also belongs to the ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’, and I think this is actually the best prize you can get.

She read the letter through the medium of a frown, pausing to look up at me at a certain point and say, ‘His writing’s rather like yours.’

Enduring Love, Ian McEwan, page 100.

What struck me while reading was that McEwan really emphasizes the actions of the protagonist. We  readers  see everything from one  perspective and  then you can not form your own opinion. Maybe this is a trick of McEwan, because I was just very curious and  I kept reading. Between the story of Joe, are also letters from Jed, I found this very nice because  I could finally understand what he thought . I found the story  quite unimaginable and therefore unpredictable. It is definitely a story you will not forget . I also think Ian’s writing style is a bit mysterious, he mostly  uses short and concise sentences in which he makes a lot clear.

‘From what I’ve read it seems that people with the Clérqmbault’s syndrome fall into two groups…’

‘You think you can read your way out of this.’She was suddenly angry and no longer crying. ‘Don’t you realise you’ve got a problem?’

Enduring Love, Ian McEwan, page 148.

Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love, is definitely a page-turner.



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