On a windy spring day in the Chilterns, the calm, organized life of science writer Joe Rose is shattered when he witnesses a tragic accident: a hot-air balloon with a boy trapped in its basket is being tossed by the wind, and in the attempt to save the child, a man is killed. A stranger named Jed Parry joins Rose in helping to bring the balloon to safety. But unknown to Rose, something passes between Parry and himself on that day--something that gives birth to an obsession in Parry so powerful that it will test the limits of Rose's beloved rationalism, threaten the love of his wife, Clarissa, and drive him to the brink of murder and madness. Brilliant and compassionate, this is a novel of love, faith, and suspense, and of how life can change in an instant.
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Joe Rose has planned a postcard-perfect afternoon in the English countryside to celebrate his lover's return after six weeks in the States. To complete the picture, there's even a "helium balloon drifting dreamily across the wooded valley." But as Joe and Clarissa watch the balloon touch down, their idyll comes to an abrupt end. The pilot catches his leg in the anchor rope, while the only passenger, a boy, is too scared to jump down. As the wind whips into action, Joe and four other men rush to secure the basket. Mother Nature, however, isn't feeling very maternal. "A mighty fist socked the balloon in two rapid blows, one-two, the second more vicious than the first," and at once the rescuers are airborne. Joe manages to drop to the ground, as do most of his companions, but one man is lifted sky-high, only to fall to his death.
In itself, the accident would change the survivors' lives, filling them with an uneasy combination of shame, happiness, and endless self-reproach. (In one of the novel's many ironies, the balloon eventually lands safely, the boy unscathed.) But fate has far more unpleasant things in store for Joe. Meeting the eye of fellow rescuer Jed Parry, for example, turns out to be a very bad move. For Jed is instantly obsessed, making the first of many calls to Joe and Clarissa's London flat that very night. Soon he's openly shadowing Joe and writing him endless letters. (One insane epistle begins, "I feel happiness running through me like an electrical current. I close my eyes and see you as you were last night in the rain, across the road from me, with the unspoken love between us as strong as steel cable.") Worst of all, Jed's version of love comes to seem a distortion of Joe's feelings for Clarissa.
Apart from the incessant stalking, it is the conditionals--the contingencies--that most frustrate Joe, a scientific journalist. If only he and Clarissa had gone straight home from the airport... If only the wind hadn't picked up... If only he had saved Jed's 29 messages in a single day... Ian McEwan has long been a poet of the arbitrary nightmare, his characters ineluctably swept up in others' fantasies, skidding into deepening violence, and--worst of all--becoming strangers to those who love them. Even his prose itself is a masterful and methodical exercise in defamiliarization. But Enduring Love and its underrated predecessor, Black Dogs, are also meditations on knowledge and perception as well as brilliant manipulations of our own expectations. By the novel's end, you will be surprisingly unafraid of hot-air balloons, but you won't be too keen on looking a stranger in the eye.From the Publisher:
"Vibrant and unsettling...a tour de force."-- The New York Times Book Review
"Brilliant...a marvellous fiction...an imaginative reconstruction of a superior kind."--Anita Brookner
"McEwan has fashioned a remarkable novel, haunting and original and written in prose that anyone who writes can only envy."--The Washington Post
"Cleverly imagined, beautifully executed...a pleasure to read...[McEwan] has few peers."--The Wall Street Journal
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Book Description Anchor, 1998. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "A remarkable novel, haunting and original and written in prose that anyone who writes can only envy." --Washington Post "Impeccably written--[McEwan] is the quietest and most lucid of stylists, with never a word wasted or fumbled." --New York Review of Books "A timeless tale about the way fate and faith shape our relationships--part existential fable about the human desire to control fate, [Enduring Love] is also, most affectingly, a story about the strength and fragility of married love." --Glamour "Eerie, slow-paced suspense worth its weight in caffeine for keeping you up all night." --Entertainment Weekly "[A] beautifully realized--novel about our responses to violence. It asks us to choose between competing visions of events, and, in the process, forces us to examine the way we react to both art and life when something terrible happens." --Boston Globe "McEwan's writing--is unflaggingly poised and, as usual, capable of excavating deep, painful trenches in the back corridors of the psyche and the heart." --Miami Herald "Cleverly imagined, beautifully executed --Mr. McEwan has few peers." --The Wall Street Journal. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0385494149
Book Description Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US. Bookseller Inventory # VR-9780385494144
Book Description Penguin Random House. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0385494149
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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 201 x 132 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. A sad, chilling, precise exploration of deranged love. -- starred, Kirkus Reviews Will keep readers hooked. -- starred, Publishers Weekly The calm, organized life of Joe Rose is shattered one day when Joe takes part in a rescue effort to save a child in a runaway ballon gondola. The day ends with a tragedy that takes only seconds, but will reverberate in the lives of those present. Ian McEwan spins a tale of life intruded upon -- and discovers how an ordinary man can be driven to the brink of madness by another s delusions. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780385494144
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Book Description Anchor. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0385494149 One of the most acclaimed contemporary English novelists follows a science writer into a crisis that eventually threatens his life, the consequence of a life-saving act that involves him with a desperate stranger. Reprint. Bookseller Inventory # 4206838
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