1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
October 21, 2003
The problem with "Enduring Love" is that there isn't much here that you or I haven't already witnessed at our local cineplex. Ordinary guy Joe (he even has a dull name) becomes the target of a mentally-ill stalker named Jed Parry after they both try to rescue a child trapped in a balloon (that part at least is original), wherein the cops of course can do nothing while Jed becomes more and more obsessed, leading to a final confrontation where of course Jed takes Joe's wife hostage. Yawn. The story is not exciting enough to be a thriller and not really profound enough to be literary gold. It's a sort of dull Anybook anyone could write after reading an article on de Clerambault's syndrome. Having just read McEwan's brilliant "Atonement" I feel this effort is unworthy of him.
The only thrill in reading this book is wondering whether Joe is really being stalked, or if it's all some elaborate trick of his imagination. It was, to me, like watching an old "Twilight Zone" episode, wondering if what I was being presented was the truth or just an illusion. Unfortunately, the endings I concocted in my head were better than the straightforward, cookie-cutter ending the author presented.
Overall, I liked McEwan's writing style, simple enough to read and understand that it doesn't detract from the book. Average Joe the narrator was not exciting or interesting, but the entertainment was in watching him become obsessed about being obsessed about while everyone else doesn't believe him. I had to agree with Joe that his wife came off a little selfish and whiny--they're both almost killed and she's mad because he wasn't "letting her in" emotionally and didn't give her enough sex? Give me a break.
The big positive of "Enduring Love" over "Atonement" is that at least "Enduring Love" doesn't take long to get going. The problem is that it doesn't seem to get very far. There's enough here, though, to recommend this book for a few hours of enjoyable reading. Just don't expect any surprises.