Enduring Love by Ian McEwan Vintage $105 The first chapter of Enduring Love is one of the most stunning pieces of fiction I've read in recent years. The narrator, Joe Rose, is picnicking in a park on the outskirts of London with his girlfriend, Clarissa, when a cry interrupts them. A hot-air balloon has become unmoored with a child in its basket and an adult dragging behind it. The day ends in tragedy, the aftermath of which reverberates strongly in the lives of Joe and Jed Parry, another of the bystanders who attempt to anchor the balloon. Jed becomes obsessed with Joe and begins stalking him. He tells Joe that he wants to bring him to God through his love, and that he and Joe belong together. McEwan uses his characters to explore different interpretations of the events. Joe seeks rational explanations for everything, and the text is laced with scientific references; Jed brings in a religious angle; and Clarissa, an English scholar, represents the artistic perspective.