The protagonist of Enduring Love is a science writer, Joe Rose. In his early academic career he had planned to devote himself to rhetorical research, but, because of delays and misdirection, he had to renounce his project and had instead become a successful writer of articles for science magazines. At the beginning of the novel he is sharing a picnic with his long-standing girlfriend, Clarissa, who is a professor of English literature and, in particular, a scholar of Keats. It is the union with between science and romance, sentimental person. They are now above the Chiltern Hills, on a beautiful spring morning. At the far end of a neighboring field, two farmhands Joseph Lacey and Toby Greene, are working. A doctor, John Logan, id driving hi scar along the adjacent lane. The other major character of the novel, the 28 - year - old Jed Parry, is slowly walking on the meadow. Suddenly all these people see a grey balloon lurch toward them; the pilot is James Gadd, 55 years of age, with his ten - year - old nephew, Henry Gadd. The balloon is enormous, "the size of a house", filled with helium. At the base of the balloon is a basket, and in the basket the boy, completely shocked, while the pilot is clinging to the anchor rope, outside the basket, in desperate need of help. The wind begins to gust strongly and lifts the balloon.