I am nearly as obsessed with McEwan's writing style, as Jed Perry was with Joe Rose. Seriously. This man clearly knows how to write; the agony and despair of Joe Rose almost leapt out of the pages, and the insanity and paradoxical behavior of Jed Parry left me stunned. I especially loved how the mere memory of the ballooning accident made Joe's narration jumpy and nervous; forgetting entire passages, going back and forth in time and trying to block out important parts of the event. It was devastatingly brilliant.
The plot of the novel can be divided into two parts and themes. The first part deals with Joe and Clarissa's traumatic experiences, being witnesses and involved in a terrible ballooning accident; survivor's guilt, and the nagging feeling that there could have been done something more to have saved the life that was spilled. It questions the animal instinct to stay alive at any cost, and plays with the inhumanity of the phrase "survival of the fittest
The second part is much more intense and almost makes this book a psychological thriller. As Jed Parry starts to stalk
Joe Rose, destroying his life, his relationship with Clarissa, his career and his entire identity, a haunting aspect of an unhealthy obsession begins. But the obsession has two sides, as Jed's obsession with Joe, causes Joe to become paranoid and constantly suspecting Jed to be around the next corner. In his vivid language McEwan teases the reader, causing several question marks to rise as to who is the sane one. Is Jed just a figment of Joes imagination, or is Joe truly in danger?
I found the many twist and turns of the plot nerve-wracking. At the end of the novel I was only sure of one thing: Ian McEwan will always be one of my favorite authors.