A Mini Review; Enduring Love

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The first of (hopefully) many very brief book reviews.

McEwan is often a ‘love or hate’ author. His style can be described as fluent and poetic, or fussy and pretentious. Enduring Love is possibly one of the best examples of his style, controversial as it is.

The novel begins with a balloon accident, which unites two of the main characters, Joe Rose and Jed Parry. This opening is somewhat difficult to read as it jumps around many times, in order to include as much detail as possible. None the less it is very well crafted and fairly promising.

For me, this opening is the best part of the novel, but it is mostly downhill from there. Jed begins to stalk Joe, and Joe struggles with being able to tell others about his problem. Since the book is mostly an exploration of psychological doubts, theories and ideas, there is little action, which is not in of itself a bad thing. However, in order not to bore the reader, most psychological thrillers have some form of plot movement, and this is where McEwan can be said to fail.

Jed continually stalks Joe, and his actions become progressively more radical, while no one seems to believe Joe about what is happening, dismissing his concerns as paranoia. Even the reader sometimes doubts the truth of the narrative, which hints at a twist of some kind- has Joe really misunderstood Jed’s behaviour? Is Jed even real?

The novel in fact concludes with Joe simply being proved right; Jed is stalking him, and is dangerous. Despite constant hints at a dramatic ending, the story has no real peak or movement, and this makes it somewhat disappointing at its conclusion.

I would recommend reading this book, just to appreciate the meticulous knowledge and exploration. However, do not expect action or excitement, or you will end up disappointed!

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