Ian McEwan: Enduring a Love

Today’s post, (before I return to my sunny home in Lanzarote) will be slightly different to that of my normal complaints and criticisms. Instead I’d like to celebrate modern literature and pay tribute to A2 English Literature students who were treated to a sample of greatness that is (Sir – or so it should be) Ian McEwan.

After finishing my exams last week I’ve finally found the time to simply sit in bed with a cup of tea and read something for myself. I was drawn to re-reading the novel after finishing another of McEwan’s short stories ‘The Daydreamer’.

For those of you that haven’t read (or heard of) ‘The Daydreamer’, you MUST give it a go. It’s a quick read, important for those who generally don’t do well focusing on one thing for too long, beautifully written (in my opinion, I’m no critic) and a generally uplifting, thought provoking story about the troubles of childhood. I began reading it months ago (I’m ashamed to say), but became distracted by the pressures of University, so I thought it a perfect time to finish it off.

I decided to continue on with the McEwan hype by reading ‘Enduring Love’, a book I loved when studying it at A-Level (in spite of my friends thinking otherwise). It dabbles in everything; science, religion, psychology, and literature in addition to the trivialities of everyday life through the eyes of the three main characters, Joe Rose, Clarissa Mellon and Jed Parry. Although the book was published in 1997, I still find it relatable to modern-day, wrapped in realism and the world of academia. Perhaps this is aided by the fact that the book was also made into a film in 2004, starring Daniel Craig and Rhys Ifans. Sadly I can’t recommend the film in similar glowing terms, adding scenes not present in the novel and kissing scenes NO-ONE should EVER have to witness. Though I can’t physically stop you from watching it, remember you have been warned. You would do much better simply reading the book than trying to avoid it by watching the film. There a things within it that you cannot un-see.

Ian McEwan hasn’t just written those two books, he’s also particularly well known for writing ‘Atonement’, which was also made into a (considerable better) film, starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. ‘Atonement’ is based around the Second World War, ‘Enduring Love’ written in the modern day and ‘The Daydreamer’ is written almost autobiographically. His most recent novel ‘Sweet Tooth’ is written from a female perspective, working at MI6 in the 1960s and his forthcoming novel is based around the lives of High-Court Judges. I suppose that’s what I like most about McEwan, his versatility. While other authors might pick a theme and stick to it all throughout their writing careers, McEwan pushes himself, researching different areas of history, psychology and science to create a thoroughly enriching text.

Though I haven’t read ALL of McEwan’s novels, I can remain safe in the knowledge that any novel that I do pick up is almost certainly going to be wonderful. So instead of reading the latest trashy novel in the charts this summer, pick up a REAL book and dip your toe into modern British literature.

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