Does science have the answers to everything about ‘‘reality’’?
Science cannot really account for Jed Parry, despite the ‘‘diagnostic criteria’’ of de Clerambault, outlined in the first appendix in Ian McEwan’s novel Enduring Love.
The final appendix (the last word?) belongs to Parry and his ironically ‘‘enduring love’’, which has been frantically ‘‘endured’’ by Joe Rose, whose own behaviour has been ambivalently ‘‘endured’’ by his partner Clarissa.
Definitions, behaviours and meanings around ‘‘love’’ and ‘‘reality’’ are integral to the novel’s themes, but also the meaning of science.
Science and reason are among the defining features of Western culture, and this 1997 novel mounts an intriguing case to explore their limits — and limitations.
McEwan’s lively and intense characters — especially Joe and Jed — embody polar-opposite positions on the spectrum of reason and emotion, rationality and faith, science and art in this dramatic questioning: whose reality?
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