Monday, July 27

Book Review: Amsterdam

Title: Amsterdam

Author: Ian McEwan

Pages: 178

Summary: On a chilly February day, two old friends meet in the throng outside a crematorium to pay their last respects to Molly Lane. Both Clive Linley and Vernon Halliday had been Molly's lovers in the days before they reached their current eminence. Clive is Britain's most successful modern composer; Vernon is editor of the quality broadsheet The Judge. Gorgeous, feisty Molly had had other lovers, too, notably Julian Garmony, foreign secretary, a notorious right-winger tipped to be the next prime minister.

In the days that follow Molly's funeral, Clive and Vernon will make a pact with consequences neither has foreseen. Each will make a disastrous moral decision, their friendship will be tested to its limits, and Julian Garmony will be fighting for his political life.

In Amsterdam, a contemporary morality tale that is as profound as it is witty, we have Ian McEwan at his wisest and most wickedly disarming. And why Amsterdam? What happens there to Clive and Vernon is the most delicious climax of a novel brimming with surprises.

My Rating: 4.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I have to say, that I was surprised that I didn’t like this book, because I loved Atonement by McEwan, and I thought that this book would have that similar style of writing and characterization, but it didn’t. Although McEwan brings up some points of morality in the book, and what is the “right” thing to do, the story really did, just fall short for me. The passages were dull and boring; there wasn’t much there to keep the readers interest. The characters were one dimensional and bored me throughout the entire book, I didn’t care much at all for them at all and whether they lived, died, got what was coming for them or anything of the sort. Which is a shame because there could have been an interesting plot for the book, the issue was and still is a very controversial one, but it just wasn’t handled well in my opinion. The book just fell short of what I would have expected it, especially after hearing such praises about the author himself in all of his works in general, I was expecting something fantastic from him and didn’t get even to close to it, I thought there would be more exciting passages, more to the characters then what was shown, and more of an in-depth look at the morals and controversy around euthanasia. But none of that happened. Overall not a very good read for me.

Would I recommend it to read: No I wouldn't. I would recommend that you read Atonement, or read something else the author has written, just not this book. Although I will try reading one of his other books in the future, it does have me shying away from his novels for the moment.

What to read next: Something else my McEwan, I enjoyed Atonement, but am unsure what his other works are like.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge


  1. I didn't like Atonement, and I'm not sure I'll try anything else by McEwan. None of the rest of them sound interesting to me. He tends to focus on topics that don't interest me. Ah well.

  2. I hate when books disappoint.

  3. Amsterdam is the only McEwan book i've read and it didn't do anything for me either.
    Great Review

    Slip Carefully

  4. Your reaction to this one is very similar to mine. I hated this book and while I thought there were some interesting passages, I thought the main characters were very shallow and flat. I also thought the ending was ridiculous. It could have been very moving and dramatic, but I felt the way McEwan wrote it it was almost close to farce. It was very operatic and unbelievable to me. I also love Atonement, and rate it high among my favorite books, but it will be awhile before I take a chance on another one of his books. Your review on this rocked!

  5. I've found a lot of people don't like this book, even fans of McEwan. And it seems to me more are on the "it just fell short" side of this book.