One windy spring day in the Chilterns Joe Rose's calm, organised life is shattered by a ballooning accident.
The afternoon, Rose reflects, could have ended in mere tragedy, but for his brief meeting with Jed Parry.
Unknown to Rose, something passes between them - something that gives birth in Parry to an obsession so powerful that it will test to the limits Rose's beloved scientific rationalism, threaten the love of his wife Clarissa and drive him to the brink of murder and madness.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 256 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 01/06/1998
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099276586
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by dylanwolf
McEwan's strength is, as always, the major pivotal scene of his novels. Always a tour-de-force. Unfortunately for this book it occurs straight away. The, by now, famous opening scene is never topped throughout the rest of the book. Your doubts about the reliability and indeed sanity of the narrator carries the story as the plot becomes increasingly unbelievable as the novel progresses. Nevertheless this is a highly enjoyable McEwan and I suspect that I've chosen well in avoiding the film.
Review by herschelian
The most gripping opening sequence of any book I've read.
Review by SirRoger
One of McEwan's best. It had me hooked from the beginning, instead of taking time to work up to it. The story is completely original, slightly morbid, and beautifully written: true McEwan. [Don't bother watching the movie, though. It's not worth it.]
Review by kevinashley
A well-written, accurate and understated novel about the behaviour of an obsessive and its effect on the lives of others. It combines excellent psychological portraiture, of inner thoughts and external action and the dissonances between them, with tense plotting.In keeping with the insidious nature of its subject, even the plot itself initially unfolds as almost a side-text to what initially appears to be the drama of the novel. Like the novel's protagonist we are taken unawares by something which initially seems odd but inconsequential until it becomes all-enveloping.The novel closes with appendices which are reminiscent of devices used by Michael Creighton in novels such as "The Andromeda Strain". To say more might reveal plot details best savoured in the reading, but in this case I think they're effective in both lowering and heightening the tension that the book creates in a way that a simple continuation of the narrative might have struggled to do.Unsettling but essential reading. Possibly not if you've been the victim of something like this in the recent past; it may then feel too close to home.