Review: ‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan

I’ve been itching to read ‘Enduring Love’ for a long time; I enjoy psychological thrillers, and this doesn’t fall short of that genre. 

Joe’s trauma within the opening of the book sets a tone which is maintained throughout the novel: one of uncertainty, terror, rationalisation and the degradation into obsession. The accident turns rational, logical Joe into an irrational, impulsive and volatile creature, which is best shown through the chapter he writes as if he’s Clarissa, where the rational mind realises how far he has strayed from his previous life. 

Jed’s obsession is equally unnerving, but McEwan heightens this by using Jed to make Joe seem as if he’s the unhinged one: deleting the phone calls, the letters written in handwriting suspiciously similar to Joe’s, and Clarissa’s lack of sightings of Jed all show how powerful he is despite his vulnerability. What made this even more fascinating and terrifying was the appendix at the end: the idea that this was based on a real syndrome and real situations was haunting, and it is almost impossible to conceive how this would affect even the most sane person who became the unwavering target of such a dangerous love. 

The final chapter, based on unveiling John Logan’s secret, or lack thereof, to his wife, took a little longer to deconstruct. Initially, it seems quite random and altogether irrelevant that Logan was giving these people a life, but thinking about it further, I read it as Joe seeing the alternative path he could have taken, one which led to uncomplicated happiness if he had united with Clarissa in his fight against Parry, instead of becoming a solitary force. 

Overall, though, this is an intriguing read for anyone who enjoys delving into the psychology of characters, as well as being a fascinating insight into the powers of love, and how it is a force that will endure despite the harshest deterrents, and a force to be endured in order to survive its power unscathed. 

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