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Enduring Love [Format Kindle]

Ian McEwan
3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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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.



The beginning is simple to mark. We were in sunlight under a turkey oak, partly protected from a strong, gusty wind. I was kneeling on the grass with a corkscrew in my hand, and Clarissa was passing me the bottle-a 1987 Daumas Gassac. This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the time map: I was stretching out my hand, and as the cool neck and the black foil touched my palm, we heard a man's shout. We turned to look across the field and saw the danger. Next thing, I was running toward it. The transformation was absolute: I don't recall dropping the corkscrew, or getting to my feet, or making a decision, or hearing the caution Clarissa called after me. What idiocy, to be racing into this story and its labyrinths, sprinting away from our happiness among the fresh spring grasses by the oak. There was the shout again, and a child's cry, enfeebled by the wind that roared in the tall trees along the hedgerows. I ran faster. And there, suddenly, from different points around the field, four other men were converging on the scene, running like me.

I see us from two hundred feet up, through the eyes of the buzzard we had watched earlier, soaring, circling, and dipping in the tumult of currents: five men running silently toward the center of a hundred-acre field. I approached from the southeast, with the wind at my back. About two hundred yards to my left two men ran side by side. They were farm laborers who had been repairing the fence along the field's southern edge where it skirts the road. The same distance beyond them was the motorist, John Logan, whose car was banked on the grass verge with its door, or doors, wide open. Knowing what I know now, it's odd to evoke the figure of Jed Parry directly ahead of me, emerging from a line of beeches on the far side of the field a quarter of a mile away, running into the wind. To the buzzard, Parry and I were tiny forms, our white shirts brilliant against the green, rushing toward each other like lovers, innocent of the grief this entanglement would bring. The encounter that would unhinge us was minutes away, its enormity disguised from us not only by the barrier of time but by the colossus in the center of the field, which drew us in with the power of a terrible ratio that set fabulous magnitude against the puny human distress at its base.

What was Clarissa doing? She said she walked quickly toward the center of the field. I don't know how she resisted the urge to run. By the time it happened, the event I am about to describe-the fall-she had almost caught us up and was well placed as an observer, unencumbered by participation, by the ropes and the shouting, and by our fatal lack of cooperation. What I describe is shaped by what Clarissa saw too, by what we told each other in the time of obsessive reexamination that followed: the aftermath, an appropriate term for what happened in a field waiting for its early summer mowing. The aftermath, the second crop, the growth promoted by that first cut in May.

I'm holding back, delaying the information. I'm lingering in the prior moment because it was a time when other outcomes were still possible; the convergence of six figures in a flat green space has a comforting geometry from the buzzard's perspective, the knowable, limited plane of the snooker table. The initial conditions, the force and the direction of the force, define all the consequent pathways, all the angles of collision and return, and the glow of the overhead light bathes the field, the baize and all its moving bodies, in reassuring clarity. I think that while we were still converging, before we made contact, we were in a state of mathematical grace. I linger on our dispositions, the relative distances and the compass point-because as far as these occurrences were concerned, this was the last time I understood anything clearly at all.

What were we running toward? I don't think any of us would ever know fully. But superficially the answer was a balloon. Not the nominal space that encloses a cartoon character's speech or thought, or, by analogy, the kind that's driven by mere hot air. It was an enormous balloon filled with helium, that elemental gas forged from hydrogen in the nuclear furnace of the stars, first step along the way in the generation of multiplicity and variety of matter in the universe, including our selves and all our thoughts.

We were running toward a catastrophe, which itself was a kind of furnace in whose heat identities and fates would buckle into new shapes. At the base of the balloon was a basket in which there was a boy, and by the basket, clinging to a rope, was a man in need of help.

Even without the balloon the day would have been marked for memory, though in the most pleasurable of ways, for this was a reunion after a separation of six weeks, the longest Clarissa and I had spent apart in our seven years. On the way out to Heathrow I had made a detour into Covent Garden and found a semilegal place to park, near Carluccio's. I went in and put together a picnic whose centerpiece was a great ball of mozzarella, which the assistant fished out of an earthenware vat with a wooden claw. I also bought black olives, mixed salad, and focaccia. Then I hurried up Long Acre to Bertram Rota's to take delivery of Clarissa's birthday present. Apart from the flat and our car, it was the most expensive single item I had ever bought. The rarity of this little book seemed to give off a heat I could feel through the thick brown wrapping paper as I walked back up the street.

Forty minutes later I was scanning the screens for arrival information. The Boston flight had only just landed and I guessed I had a half-hour wait. If one ever wanted proof of Darwin's contention that the many expressions of emotion in humans are universal, genetically inscribed, then a few minutes by the arrivals gate in Heathrow's Terminal Four should suffice. I saw the same joy, the same uncontrollable smile, in the faces of a Nigerian earth mama, a thin-lipped Scottish granny, and a pale, correct Japanese businessman as they wheeled their trolleys in and recognized a figure in the expectant crowd. Observing human variety can give pleasure, but so too can human sameness. I kept hearing the same sighing sound on a downward note, often breathed through a name as two people pressed forward to go into their embrace. Was it a major second or a minor third, or somewhere in between? Pa-pa! Yolan-ta! Ho-bi! Nz-e! There was also a rising note, crooned into the solemn, wary faces of babies by long-absent fathers or grandparents, cajoling, beseeching an immediate return of love. Han-nah? Tom-ee? Let me in!

The variety was in the private dramas: a father and a teenage son, Turkish perhaps, stood in a long silent clinch, forgiving each other, or mourning a loss, oblivious to the baggage trolleys jamming around them; identical twins, women in their fifties, greeted each other with clear distaste, just touching hands and kissing without making contact; a small American boy, hoisted onto the shoulders of a father he did not recognize, screamed to be put down, provoking a fit of temper in his tired mother.

But mostly it was smiles and hugs, and in thirty-five minutes I experienced more than fifty theatrical happy endings, each one with the appearance of being slightly less well acted than the one before, until I began to feel emotionally exhausted and suspected that even the children were being insincere. I was just wondering how convincing I myself could be now in greeting Clarissa when she tapped me on the shoulder, having missed me in the crowd and circled round. Immediately my detachment vanished, and I called out her name, in tune with all the rest.

Less than an hour later we were parked by a track that ran through beech woods in the Chiltern Hills, near Christmas Common. While Clarissa changed her shoes I loaded a backpack with our picnic. We set off down our path arm in arm, still elated by our reunion; what was familiar about her-the size and feel of her hand, the warmth and tranquillity in her voice, the Celt's pale skin and green eyes-was also novel, gleaming in an alien light, reminding me of our very first meetings and the months we spent falling in love. Or, I imagined, I was another man, my own sexual competitor, come to steal her from me. When I told her, she laughed and said I was the world's most complicated simpleton, and it was while we stopped to kiss and wondered aloud whether we should not have driven straight home to bed that we glimpsed through the fresh foliage the helium balloon drifting dreamily across the wooded valley to our west. Neither the man nor the boy was visible to us. I remember thinking, but not saying, that it was a precarious form of transport when the wind rather than the pilot set the course. Then I thought that perhaps this was the very nature of its attraction. And instantly the idea went out of my mind.

We went through College Wood toward Pishill, stopping to admire the new greenery on the beeches. Each leaf seemed to glow with an internal light. We talked about the purity of this color, the beech leaf in spring, and how looking at it cleared the mind. As we walked into the wood the wind began to get up and the branches creaked like rusted machinery. We knew this route well. This was surely the finest landscape within an hour of central London. I loved the pitch and roll of the fields and their scatterings of chalk and flint, and the paths that dipped across them to sink into the darkness of the beech stands, certain neglected, badly drained valleys where thick iridescent mosses covered the rotting tree trunks and where you occasionally glimpsed a muntjak blundering through the undergrowth.

For much of the time as we walked westward we were talking about Clarissa's research-John Keats dying in Rome in the house at the foot of the Spanish Steps where he lodged with his friend, Joseph Severn. Was it possible there were still three or four unpublished letters of Keats's in existence? Might one of them be addressed to Fanny Brawne? Clarissa had reason to think so and had spent part of a sabbatical te...

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 719 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 274 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage Digital; Édition : New Ed (19 janvier 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00352B44Q
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°9.664 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 I love you and God loves you..... 31 août 2011
Joe and Clarissa are in love and their couple seems quietly uneventful, you could call that peaceful love. On the day Joe wants to celebrate Clarissa's birthday with a nice picnic in the countryside, a terrible accident occurs, followed by the death of a man. On that day, Joe briefly comes across Jed Parry, and from then on, his life and Clarissa's will be chaos. Jed Parry is a rare case of the de Clérambault syndrome, a delusional state that makes him fixate on Joe, and harass him, only him.

This is not a bad book because Ian McEwan is a talented writer, however it should have been a great book because the subject was captivating. I read it with both pleasure and a great interest, but I wasn't entirely convinced by the characters, especially Clarissa, who seems too detached from the whole thing, completely averse to facing problems and dealing with them. Her attitude is just highly unlikely, how can she deliberately ignore that her love and companion is being stalked. On the other hand, some unnecessary digressions about Joe's work weaken the plot and tend to lessen the reader's rising unease. In conclusion, Enduring Love is quite a good book but it is certainly not as good as Atonement.
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 bien 5 novembre 2013
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Un histoire assez tordue, un peu sinueuse pour une rélévation assez inattendue !
Le style est assez moderne et très compréhensible.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  237 commentaires
58 internautes sur 63 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An engrossing, beautifully written book 15 janvier 2000
Par Marion D. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Many have praised the opening of this novel, and rightfully so, but that is only the first step in Ian McEwan's masterful creation. Told from the perspective of Joe Rose, a frustrated scientist turned journalist, the story captures our attention and never lets go. We share Joe's despair as the balloon rocks in the wind in the opening scene; we shiver as he finds himself being stalked by a delusional, obsessive intruder who thinks Joe is the love of his life. But Joe doesn't seem to trust himself entirely, and McEwan gives us plenty of reasons to distrust him even more, creating a tension in the narrative that makes us read on with a growing sense of impending calamity. In-between, McEwan explores the dichotomy of science and religion, logic and intuition, sanity and delusion. The writing is beautiful, as sharp and witty as we've come to expect of McEwan, but far more intricate and thoughtful. All that and a page-turner? It's a near-perfect read.
32 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An Enduring Impression 22 août 2000
Par Bryan Bickford - Publié sur Amazon.com
What strikes me about this book is the lasting impression it's left on me. I read it last summer and still find myself thinking about it and talking about it a year later. I recently finished another book and my wife asked me to compare it to any two others as a point of reference. Better than one book we'd both read, I said, but not as good as Enduring Love. For contemporary fiction, this one sticks with you.
McEwan does a fine job in painting the lead character Joe Rose, as well as the secondary players. His use of language is clear and simple, yet never elementary. The opening chapter is as powerfully imagined as any other I've read. The reader is literally hanging by a rope at the suspense of the scene. And it sets the tone for the psychological terror to come.
More than a summer read, Enduring Love explores corners of our psyches and personalities that we don't often come face to face with. Suspense, terror, humor, and the very real idea of love and romance are alive in this book, which I reccommend as enjoyable to readers of any of these genres.
45 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Hitchcock would love this book 24 avril 2000
Par Ian Muldoon - Publié sur Amazon.com
A very well crafted tale of horror, suspense, and an understanding of the psychological minutia of relationships which I read in one sitting. If you, dear reader, are interested in psychiatry, the place of scientists and science in the modern world, scientific fashion, obsessive behaviour, religious faith, love, jealousy, murder, moral choices, guilt, and fear then this is the book for you. It's also funny eg, '" I'll tell you in four words and nothing more. Someone wants to kill me." In the silence everyone, including me, totted up the words.'(p216) But if there is a common theme binding all these elements together, it's that no matter how well educated or intelligent you are there is no escaping the strait-jacket of your feelings, and its these feelings, of cowardice, of guilt, of fear, of the protaganist, Joe Rose, which propel the story forward in true Hitchcockian manner. The effects of love going sour, the hilarity of buying a gun from ex-hippies, the strangeness of an ordinary day turning weird are some of the many highlights of this book.
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 No Good Deed Goes Unpunished 29 août 2005
Par mrliteral - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The Ian McEwan novel Enduring Love opens with a picnic. Joe Rose and his girlfriend/common-law wife Clarissa are enjoying each other's company after a week's separation when they hear a call for help. Joe, along with several other men, wind up trying to control an errant hot-air balloon, an effort that will not only fail but will kill one of them in the process. In the shock following the death, Joe sympathetically glances at one of the other men, beginning a strange nightmare that will plague both his and Clarissa's life.

It turns out that this other man, Jed, is deeply disturbed, and from that one exchanged look, he falls in love with Joe. Beyond that, he is certain that Joe loves him, and that Joe's every gesture is some sort of secret communication of affection. This leads to a "Fatal Attraction"-like obsession which is a little less violent but maybe even more disturbing.

What separates this from just being another Fatal Attraction rip-off is Joe, who has problems of his own. Utterly rational - to the point of irrationality - Joe's attempts to clinically deal with his problems actually exacerbate them. His absolute certainty in the correctness of his actions lead to paranoia and alienation; instead of getting assistance with Jed, he winds up looking crazy himself...and due to the first-person narrative, the reader may start assuming Joe is insane as well.

Although Ian McEwan may not be known as a suspense writer, Enduring Love shows that he is good at writing such tales. But this is not merely a thriller; it's also a tale of obsession and guilt and how the two can intertwine. This is a book well worth reading.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Narrative of Science, Religion and Obsession 18 avril 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
I first read Ian McEwan in 1976. I had just arrived in Ireland for a year of study and picked up an inexpensive Picador paperback edition of his first collection of stories, "First Love, Last Rites." I still have that paperback, its pages dog-eared and fragile, and I re-read it from time-to-time. After that first encounter, I became a McEwan "fan," enraptured by his dark, edgy, disturbing, psychologically obsessive narratives.
"Enduring Love", published more than twenty years after that first collection of stories, is different from his earliest writing in the sense that its narrative turns around a more conventional, albeit still psychologically driven and bizarre, set of circumstances.
As many reviewers have commented, the first chapter of "Enduring Love" is a compelling page-turner. Joe and Clarissa, long-time lovers, are setting up a picnic under a tree on the edge of a wide expanse of field. Clarissa, a Keats scholar, has just returned from an extended research trip to Rome and the picnic is an occasion for them to celebrate their reunion. In Joe's first person narrative: "The beginning is simple to mark. We were in sunlight under a turkey oak, partly protected from a strong, gusty wind. I was kneeling on the grass with a corkscrew in my hand, and Clarissa was passing me the bottle-a 1987 Daumas Gassac. This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the time map: I was stretching out my hand, and as the cool neck and the black foil touched my palm, we heard a man's shout. We turned and looked across the field and saw the danger."
And what was the danger? Joe and Clarissa see a hot air balloon pulling away from the ground, a young boy in the basket of the balloon while an older man, his companion, struggles desperately to hold onto the balloon, to keep it tethered to the ground in the face of gusty winds.
Soon, Joe is running across the field to help, along with three other men. It is a moment in time, "the pinprick on the time map," that Joe explores obsessively, examining it, turning it, over and over, trying to understand how such an instant can change an entire life.
Joe and the three other men soon catch up to the balloon, the four of them, together with the boy's older companion, struggling to hold the balloon down, to keep it from blowing off with the young boy as scared passenger. It becomes apparent, however, that their efforts are failing, the balloon starting to rise higher, the four men holding on, each of them facing grave physical danger and a powerful moral dilemma. Each must decide whether to continue to hold on, running the risk that if the others do not then he will face near certain death from falling. As Joe later relates, looking back on that moment, "I didn't know, nor have I ever discovered, who let go first. I am not prepared to accept that it was me. What is certain is that if we had not broken ranks, our collective weight would have brought the balloon to earth a few seconds later as the gust subsided."
Thus begins "Enduring Love", the first chapter seemingly narrating an event and a moral conundrum that immediately captures the reader, leading him to believe that the rest of the novel will explore how this event affects the lives of Joe and Clarissa and the rest of the book's characters. However, in typical McEwan fashion, the plot takes a much different turn. What begins as a tragic event that elicits moral ponderings veers into a narrative of science, religion and psychological obsession.
Joe Rose encounters one of the other would-be rescuers, Jed Parry, while standing in the field after their ill-starred rescue attempt. Parry, an apparently religious fanatic, sees deep meaning in his time-bound encounter with Joe. He becomes obsessed with Joe, stalking him and, eventually, threatening Joe's relationship with Clarissa and Joe's very well-being. Parry suffers from de Clerambault's syndrome, a type of homo-erotic obsession with religious overtones. As the scientific appendix to the novel notes, "this is indeed a most lasting form of love, often terminated only by the death of the patient."
"Enduring Love" thus begins by posing a moral dilemma, but soon evolves into a compelling novel of deviant psychological obsession, of conflict between religion and science, and of a deep, introspective examination of how a loving relationship can soon unravel in the face of threats from the outside. It is a thought-provoking novel, albeit one which at times seems somewhat lacking in feeling, the reader (at least this reader) having difficulty identifying with the often clinical coldness of Joe's first person narration. While the tone of Joe's narration may be intentional, McEwan intending to write in a voice that reflects the unfeeling tone of Joe's deep-seated scientific rationalism, the narrative never quite rings true to life. "Enduring Love" is, nonetheless, a fascinating and worthwhile novel that gives the reader much to ponder.
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