Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

You will be hooked by this book from the first chapter. It opens with 4 men attempting to rescue a boy in a hot air balloon. The tragic death of one of these men causes the eccentric loner Jed to become fixated with science journalist Joe. Jed develops De Clerembaults syndrome, which is a very rare paranoid delusion in which the afflicted comes to believe that the person they are fixated upon is madly in love with them. Despite their protestations to the contrary, the sufferer will read meaning in their inconsequential actions, believing it is a secret code with which they are trying to communicate with them. The relationship between these two men is fascinating, but on a more subtle level, the havoc this reeks between Joe and his partner is as thought provoking. Admittedly it is a cliché that scientists are so wed to rationalising they are unable to communicate or cope with the real world, and writers (his partner Clarissa) feel things too deeply at the expense of others and reason. However, it forces the reader to think about how fragile even the most seemingly strong relationship can be when a third becomes involved, even if that third person is uninvited. This is the book which launched Ian McEwan into the mainstream as a writer, deservedly so, as it is a classic.