ian mcewan   book cover  
ian mcewan    
an interview with Ian McEwan

author reading

Enduring Love: an excerpt

first chapter of Enduring Love

  Ian McEwan's seventh novel, Enduring Love, is so completely satisfying, so compelling and thought-provoking, that it may very well be the best book you read this year. The first chapter, excerpted to great fanfare in The New Yorker earlier this year, is one of the most stunning pieces of fiction in recent memory. The narrator, Joe Rose, is picnicking in a park on the outskirts of London about to open a bottle of wine when a cry interrupts a reunion with his girlfriend. A hot-air balloon with a child in its basket and an adult being dragged behind it had become unmoored from a powerful gust of wind. The day ends in tragedy, the aftermath of which reverberates most strongly in the lives of Joe, his common-law wife Clarissa, and Jed Parry, one of the bystanders who attempted to anchor the balloon. Jed and Joe exchanged a passing glance at the scene of the accident, a look which indelibly burns an obsession into Parry's soul. Suffering from a pathological condition known as de Clérambault's syndrome, he begins stalking Joe. Delusional and dangerous, Parry's obsession uproots Joe's life and threatens his relationship with Clarissa. An underlying parable concerning the conflict between rationalism, emotionalism, and the religious adds a layer of complexity that will satisfy intellectual curiosity seekers. The real conflict here is between the reader's desire to reflect upon the themes and metaphors of the novel while savoring its beautiful prose and the impulse to race through the pages in white-knuckled intensity to its unexpected ending to unravel the mystery of this brilliant literary thriller.

In this issue of Bold Type, we feature an interview with Ian McEwan, an excerpt from the novel, and an exclusive recording of the author reading the spellbinding first chapter.

Photo of Ian McEwan copyright © Jane Brown.

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