am 12. März 2000
...the Appendix at the end was written by McEwan after he finished the novel and as a joke he sent it to a british psychiatric journal under 2 pseudonyms which are actually an anagram of his name ... the "case-study" was accepted and duly published.
i think for that alone he deserves a modicum of respect. HOWEVER i would like to contradict everyone by saying that although terrible scenario in chapter 1 is very clever, leading up to it is quite boring, isn't it. and the plot of the novel overall does become a bit forced and unevenly paced. ESPECIALLY the restaurant and hippie/gun scenes. i thought it was unconvincing of mcewan to randomly give us an insight into clarissa's frame of mind (that bit when she comes home from work cross and tired) and yet remain with joe for the rest of the novel - blatantly inconsistent. there were also minor inconsistencies in the text eg joe claims to have lime-flavour ice-cream in the restaurant, but when he relates the incident to the police it is apple-flavour. unusual for both an author as obsessed with detail as mcewan is, and for his eerily similar narrator joe.
and yes the book can be intensely boring - not just when joe is going on about science, but also when mcewan is being generally pedantic about descriptions of ppl/places/events. i couldn't gauge whether mcewan was being boring and scientific because he couldn't help it, or whether he ws writing "in character" as joe.
in the book's favour, i think mcewan invites us to compare ourselves with jed and empathise with him in the horrible way he makes us empathise with all his skewed characters. come on, how many times have you had a crush on someone and suspected/KNOWN that they knew, and they kind of liked you to, but couldn't say ... ? think about it ... think and shudder ...
am 11. Mai 2005
Joe Rose is a lucky man: though balding, biggish and not really on the height of the career he would have wanted for himself, he does neither lack a decent job nor a fulfilling relationship.
When he sets out for a nice picnic with his girlfriend, he is not expecting anything like the peculiar events that will ensue. Or would you expect to be stalked by a deeply religious gay maniac who you have shared a very tragic accident with? Parry, who is convinced his love for Joe is mutual, is relentless in his efforts to convince him of both the Lord's and his own love for him. Joe, on the other hand, makes quite a few false moves that end up in endangering the perfect harmony he used to share with his girlfriend, who is finding her boyfriend's obsession increasingly irritating.
Mc Ewan's well-researched novel on erotomaniac patterns and their shattering effect makes for an entertaining and quite fascinating read. The narrative perspective is very personal albeit very distanced, thus making you feel chillingly uncomfortable. The blend of very unusual events and turns and the all too well-known deterioration of a relationship uses defamiliarization to point out how very fragile both the human mind and intimate relations are.
am 14. Juni 2000
Ian McEwan's enthralling new novel Enduring Love begins rather simply "with the touch of a wine bottle and a shout of distress." Joe Rose leaps up from a picnic with his wife, Clarissa, and runs to help a boy trapped in the basket of an ascending balloon. He and four other men run from all sides to assist the boy.
All five men grab ropes dangling from the balloon, but four of them drop off as the wayward balloon rises, leaving one brave man clinging on for life. Eventually he loses his grip and falls hundreds of feet to the ground. "I've never seen such a terrible thing as that falling man," Joe writes later.
In a moment of unnatural calm after the man's death, Joe turns to one of the other men, Jed Parry, and gives him a quick, nervous, reassuring nod. "It's all right," he says before running to attend to the dead man. In that instant, an obsession is borne.
Parry's obsession with Joe manifests itself almost immediately, and it is confirmed that night when he calls to tell him: "I just wanted you to know, I understand what you're feeling. I feel it too. I love you."
Already struggling with guilt over the death of the fallen man, Joe must now also fend off the advances of Parry, a man of deep religious conviction, with an increasing propensity towards violence.
Essentially, Enduring Love is a study of de Clerambault's syndrome. According to the book, in 1942 the French psychiatrist de Clerambault described his eponymous syndrome as a state of erotomania in which the "'subject,' usually a woman, has the intense delusional belief that a man, the 'object,' often of higher social standing, is in love with her." Every gesture the object makes--drawing a curtain, running a hand along a hedge--is interpreted as a sign of the object's underlying love. And in many cases, it is a love that the subject takes with him or her unrequited to the grave.
McEwan's examination of Parry's homoerotic mania is not without sympathy, but he also show us how debilitating the syndrome is to its object, Joe, and his relationship with Clarissa. Joe quickly grows irritable and eventually irrational himself, threatening the fabric of what was once a stable relationship. McEwan's sure hand makes Enduring Love terse, lucid reading, and his insight into the subtler workings of the human mind makes it a thoughtful read. He develops his plot steadily, incorporating several surprising developments which ensure the novel is difficult to put down.
In an appendix to the novel, a fictitious professor notes this about Jed Parry's obsession" 'it is not always easy to accept that one of our most valued experiences may merge into psychopathology."
McEwan's subtle prose says it more elegantly near the beginning of the novel. Upon first observing the giant helium balloon, Joe considered it "a precarious form of transport when the wind rather than the pilot set the course." But then he thinks, "perhaps this was the very nature of the attraction."
So, too, the human need for love is sometimes so great that it pays little heed to the course it takes, regardless of how reckless.
Mein Lieblingsbuch von Ian McEwan gibt es nun (endlich!) auch in der ungekürzten englischen Ausgabe als Hörbuch. Ich besitze zwar schon das Audiobook zu "Enduring Love" in der stark gekürzten Version, doch es ist noch einmal ein ganz anderes Hörerlebnis- und -vergnügen, diesen brillanten, extrem guten Roman in seiner vollen Länge vorgelesen zu bekommen. Der Sprecher dieser Audio-CD hat eine angenehme Lese-Stimme, man mag ihm gerne folgen (bei einem Buch, das in voller Länge gelesen wird, finde ich diesen Aspekt ganz wichtig)!
Für mich ist das Hören von englischsprachigen Audiobooks eine sehr gute Übung, um das Hör-Verständnis von englischen Texten zu üben und zu trainieren. Man lernt nämlich dabei am besten, wie die Wörter im Englischen korrekt ausgesprochen werden. Ich lese zwar auch selbst häufiger mal englische Bücher, ertappe mich aber oft dabei, wie ich am Überlegen bin, wie dieses oder jenes Wort korrekt in der englischen Sprache ausgesprochen wird.
Zur Story (Geschichte eines jungen Mannes, der von einem Stalker verfolgt wird und dessen Leben sich von nun an komplett wandelt) braucht man nicht viel zu sagen - der Inhalt dürfte bekannt sein, zumindest allen Ian McEwan Fans.
Volle fünf Sterne für dieses geniale Hörbuch!
am 16. Januar 2000
Though "Enduring Love" is only two-thirds of an excellent novel, the book as a whole has a lot to recommend it: an abundance of vivid character detail and insights, wonderful language, and McEwan's scary ability to walk a grueling mile in very strange shoes indeed. (Readers of "The Child In Time" and "The Innocent" will find themselves half-convinced that McEwan himself once lost a child in an unexplained kidnapping, or that he personally spent some sweaty hours dismembering a corpse with a hack-saw). Sadly, after a bravura beginning, he loses control, starting with the shooting in the restaurant. This scene is preposterous: how could an unworldly shut-in like Jed Parry so quickly find a pair of professional killers willing to commit a brazen public murder, and why bother anyway, since he has Joe's address? After that, McEwan cannot pick up the threads again; his narrative, while still beautifully written, becomes a string of absurdities, from a farcical scene with hippy gun-dealers to a melodramatic climax. What the hell threw him? The answer may be that McEwan was trying to amuse himself at the expense of his own story. Many people know that the first chapter of the book--the balloon accident--ran in the New Yorker, word for word, months before the novel appeared. At that time, there was no suggestion that it was anything other than a short story, and in fact it stood very well on its own. But McEwan was having fun, jogging the readers' memories, gloating a little over his achievement: several years before this, the New Yorker had published its first Ian McEwan story. It was about a murder in a crowded restaurant, and its heroes were Joe and Clarissa. Maybe as a challenge to himself, McEwan re-worked this story into his novel--with a shoe-horn, apparently. He made few changes, but the original details (such as the setting, a near-future London fraught with Algerian-style, Fundamentalist violence; and Clarissa's physique, which is described as that of a midget), though strange, made perfect sense in context. McEwan thought he could make this elegant trifle richer and more resonant by throwing it into the pot that became "Enduring Love". Unfortunately he failed to incorporate it convincingly, and the icy logic of his fine novel was totally derailed.
am 28. Dezember 1999
Sometimes love last forever - love endures. Sometimes love is unbearable, but we put up with it - we endure love. So the two-sided title appropriately describes an engrossing novel about love in its very different forms. The opening scene has been justly praised as a perfect set piece, establishing the characters and introducing the theme. A postcard day, complete with a distant balloon over an English countryside - the ideal setting for Joe and Clarissa, two re-united lovers, enjoying a picnic. But then a bizarre accident, which could have so easily been avoided, takes the plot in a new direction. Instead of landing with its occupants safely in an open field, the gliding balloon is suddenly gusted away, out of control. Joe and several strangers rush to the aid of the struggling ballonist, ineffectually trying to secure the balloon and land it safely. But the incident ends in tragedy. Joe is wracked with questions. Could I have done more?..Was it my fault?..If only we had worked together... But as the days pass after the accident, a more ominous development occurs. Jed Parry, one of the would-be rescuers, develops a weird obsession with Joe. The future path of Joe's love, like the uncontrolled movements of the balloon, is about to take unexpected turns. A story is often be carried simply by the twisting events in the plot. But here the pace is maintained because the reader is in Joe's mind, following him every step, analyzing with him the unreasonableness of his lover, suffering the uncaring incompetence of the police, enduring the mania of a madman. It is hard to stop reading, because we empathize so completely with its suffering hero. Here and there are unexpected changes of style, which sometimes don't work. A glaringly incongruous scene occurs as Joe buys a gun from a group of aging hippies introduced by his druggy friend. It's a terrific scene - great characterization, very funny, imaginative, but somehow out of step with the rest. And yes, the ending is too neat, vindicating all of Joe's claims, justifying all his apparent paranoid behaviour, and proving that he was right all along. But overall, its a compelling read. The book is strongest when it sticks to its theme - love as a dominant, unchartable, unpredictable focus of our lives. I spent an entire day reading it. I couldn't stop. Well worth reading.
am 23. Mai 2000
I have acquired that taste, but it's not easy. McEwan can drive even his admirers crazy. In this book his main character isolates himself from everyone by being so incredibly obtuse that you want to scream: PLAY THE DAMN TAPE! LOOK OUT THE WINDOW! SHOW HER!
Still, McEwan is such a masterly writer that he drags us through this harrowing experience jerking our chain over and over again, and we put up with it because of the skill and invention of the writer.
The story is weird on its own, dealing as it does with a psychological disorder that threatens to destroy people who do not suffer from it first hand. This is true of many psychological disorders, like Alzheimer's and schizophrenia which affect all those around the primary sufferer. In this case, the disorder could have deadly consequences for several other characters, and so McEwan keeps us locked up, victims of the same obsession. It's no use to fling the book against the wall because the main character could so simply have proved his case. When you pick the book up again, it won't be any different. You just have to plow through to the end.
All in all, a good book, interesting, annoying, captivating and frustating all at once. As I said, an acquired taste.
am 23. Mai 2000
This novel is home to some of the strongest contemporary prose I have read. Unfortunately, it is not built on a very sturdy foundation.
McEwan demonstrates a passion for the psychology of detail, the passage of the mind through moments of an uncomfortable experience. The narration is wisely removed, yet piercingly aware throughout. Arguments travel great distances, to finally graze the heart of the matter just lightly enough to take the reader's breath.
All of this particularity, coupled with the inventiveness of the novel's opening, inspires a great deal of involvement with the characters and curiosity about the events of upcoming chapters. It is disappointing then when the story strays from its main question: "What happened Joe and Clarissa Rose's marriage on the day of the cursed picnic?" The agency for their destruction is assigned to a lunatic, and we are sad to see that the marriage we have come to care so much about can be destroyed by such a man.
But again, such disappointment would not be possible if it weren't so wonderfully written. It is worth it.
am 16. April 2000
Just finished 'Enduring Love' and found it far more convincing, much better written, yet equally as haunting and memorable as 'Cement Garden'. Oustanding! I especially found his way of teasing the reader with bits and pieces of what you know is going to be a gripping scene nothing short of masterful.
In reading other reviews on this site, I find it interesting that some question McEwan's consistency and insight into Clarissa's state of mind. Obviously these readers didn't get it. You were supposed to be sharing the doubts of Joe's sanity and viewing his 'decline' from her perspective. If there were those of you who didn't start thinking that Parry was simply a figment of Joe's obsession and a result of the shock of watching the horrific events surrounding the ballooning accident, you need to reflect a bit more the next time you pick up as well a written novel as 'Enduring Love'. This isn't the stuff of best-selling paperbacks, it's not going to hit you over the head with character motivations. You've got to think for yourself once in awhile.
am 21. März 2000
To my shame, I must confess that I've never read any Ian McEwan before I came across this novel. McEwan, of course, has now won Britain's Booker Prize for AMSTERDAM, but many thought he should won this leading book prize with ENDURING LOVE. From the balloon on the cover my mind had conjured up a story of magical realism, set in the Italian renaissance along with the many weird works of Leonardi Da Vinci. I was wrong. The novel is far more down to earth than that - literally. The novel's narrator is Joe Rose, who's enjoying a day out in the British countryside when something unreal happens. A balloon flight has got into trouble, due to some fierce winds, and Joe is one of the men who runs to the rescue of the boy trapped in the balloon basket. Unfortunately, one of the rescuers is killed, driving Joe into a state of shock and guilt. This is bad enough, but then Joe becomes convinced that one of the other rescuers from that day is stalking him... This is a highly intriguing read which I cannot recommend highly enough.