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Jenmcd

Amsterdam

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This is the 6th McEwan I've read and while all his books are very well written and impressive Amsterdam is also extremely entertaining and frequently very funny.

 

The story opens at the funeral of Molly Lane, writer and restaurant critic, attended by her unpopular publisher husband George and 3 of her lovers - Julian Garmony, Conservative foreign secretary, Vernon Halliday, editor of a national newspaper, and Clive Linley, a successful composer. George seems to have managed to gain a control over Molly in her illness and death that he never had during her lifetime.

 

In the weeks that follow some compromising photographs of Julian Garmony come to light and Vernon and Clive come up against their own moral dilemmas which are ultimately their undoing.

 

This is a very good read which follows an unpredictable but ultimately believable and very satisfying plot.

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I was rather disappointed by Amsterdam and thought it was a disgrace that it won the Booker. Not because it was an awful book but it simply wasn't good enough for that achievement.

 

I must admit, the details are hazy now since many years have passed since I read it, but it left me feeling as though many good ideas simply hadn't been developed or capitalised upon. It was almost as though McEwan had been struck by inspirations that ultimately bored him when it came to the writing process, so what ended up on the page wasn't developed in the way it should have been, leaving a lacklustre and unsatisfying novel. By the end I was left with the sensation of "Is that it, then?"

 

I suppose if it had been an author of whom I didn't expect so much I might have thought a little better of it. It definitely suffers from comparison with his other works.

 

Still, you've clearly read a lot of McEwan, Jenmcd, and you liked it. Maybe I missed something?

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Still, you've clearly read a lot of McEwan, Jenmcd, and you liked it. Maybe I missed something?

 

I think it is probably a case of me missing something in his other work as although I was impressed by things like Atonement and On Chesil Beach I wasn't as blown away by them as a lot of people seem to be.

 

I looked at the Booker shortlist for 1998 and it seemed to be quite a weak year which I think may account for its win.

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Thanks for starting this thread Jenmcd as I recently finished reading Amsterdam but couldn't find an existing thread and was reluctant to start a new one with negative comments.

 

But I was very disappointed by this book. The characters were not only unlikeable, but I didn't find them very believable either. And the ending lacked any drama as it had been pretty well signposted and again was hardly credible. All in all I have read much better McEwan.

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I'm at the totally opposite angle to you, Jen, as this was the first McEwan novel I read. Like David, it's a bit hazy now, but I remember thinking "Is that it? Is this what all the fuss is about?" I think maybe I just didn't 'get' McEwan at the time, and as my reading tastes have matured I've learned to appreciate him more. It's one that hasn't been sent off to the charity shop so I'll probably give it another read soon as it's so short.

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I have just finished this.  I enjoyed the read, and I was engaged enough to rush through it.  At one point I wished for more exploration or exposition or some of the story. But perhaps the point was to leave a fair bit unexplored.

The fate of Vernon and Clive were silly, but that wasn’t the point of the story, was it?

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