Book #46: Enduring Love

Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love is another pretty freaky read.

It’s basically about a stalker. Two strangers meet when they rush to help during a freak ballooning accident. When Joe Rose makes casual contact with Jed Parry, something changes. Jed thinks they’re in love. Filled with the idea that he and Joe are destined to be together, Jed begins following Joe around and leaving him frightening letters.

McEwan does a fantastic job of portraying the isolation and fear that comes with being stalked.* Joe’s partner, Clarissa, doesn’t fully believe him or understand just how frightening Jed is being. Joe goes to the police, who tell him that unless Jed is making obvious threats against him, there’s nothing they can do. The whole time, Joe constantly worries that Jed is watching him and planning to hurt him, but he can’t do anything about it.

McEwan holds us pretty close to Joe’s thoughts the whole time. The writing is very intense, which lets you feel the panic and terror he’s feeling. It took me just over a day to finish this book, and the whole time I was reading it, I had this slightly uneasy feeling like someone was watching me. For about a week after I finished the book, I was wary of making eye contact with strangers. Someone would sit across from me on the metro and I’d be like, “Ohgodohman, they’re going to follow me to my apartment.” I’d make eye contact with a stranger on the street and wonder if they’d find me later.

The freakiest was probably that I was reading Enduring Love at about the same time that a random homeless woman decided to start living in our stairwell. For 36 hours, every time I left or came back to my apartment, she was sitting in a chair in a semi-darkened corner. A tad frightening in any circumstance, but especially when you’ve just read a book about a stalker.

*I assume anyway. I’m lucky enough to have never had a stalker, so I suppose I don’t actually know what it feels like.

Rating: ****
Up Next: Parade’s End


One response to this post.

  1. This certainly sounds interesting. I’ve just read Atonement and I’m eager to read more of McEwan’s books.


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