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 as Britain's most successful modern composer, Vernon as editor of the quality broadsheet, The Judge ...
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 as Britain's most successful modern composer, Vernon as 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 that will have 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.
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Although on the Booker prize shortlist in 1998 this is not a book I would recommend to any of my friends.Was it the clever,complicated plot ,the fact that there were three main subjects with their various problems and very different spheres of activity or that there were only a few parts I could visualize?
Maybe the plot was just too clever and contrived.
However, the chapter where the composer goes to the Lake District for total isolation with no distractions was very graphic and the scene with the champagne glasses was also very descriptive .
The clever and unexpected end was a good twist in the tail.That said, four weeks after reading the book I couldn't remember the plot and had to skim the book to be able to write this review.
Mar 21, 2009
I liked this book, very much. This is the 3rd book I have read by this author, and each one I have liked for different reasons.
Amsterdam, was very funny at times, but also very dark and sinister throughout. It starts off with the death/ and funeral of Molly Lane--and her relationships with her husband George, her friends and ex-lover's , composer Clive Linley and newspaper editor Vernon Halliday. Ian McEwan delves into the importance of marriage & friendships. How narrow minded, people can be. How forgiving others can be, in extrordinary circumstances, how full of themselves some people can be, how some can lose their way and all of their morales. We see how quickly tables can turn. This book has everything from infedeltiy, dirty pictures, to politicians. I found the ending somewhat shocking, but at the same time it became clear why the title was Amsterdam. The ending was brilliant.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-11-23 As swift as a lethal bullet and as timely as current headlines, McEwan's Booker Prize-winning novel is a mordantly cleveræbut ultimately too clever for its own goodæexploration of ethical issues. Two longtime friends meet at the cremation of the woman they shared, beautiful restaurant critic and photographer Molly Lane. Clive Linley, a celebrated composer, and Vernon Halliday, the editor of a financially troubled London tabloid, could never understand Molly's third liaisonæwith conservative Foreign Secretary Julian Garmony, who is angling to be prime minister, or her marriage to dour but rich publisher George Lane. Mourning the manner of Molly's agonizing death, which left her mad and helpless at the end, each man pledges to dispatch the other by euthanasia should he be similarly afflicted. Immediately afterwards, both Clive and Vernon are enmeshed in a crisis: Clive must finish his commissioned Millennium Symphony so it can premiere in Amsterdam, and Vernon must grapple with the moral issue of publishing photos of Julian Garmony in drag that George has discovered with Molly's effects. The clash between whether the demands of pure art are more valid than political accountability and financial solvency soon assumes a larger dimension that turns Clive and Vernon into bitter enemies and inspires each of them to seek revenge by the same means. McEwan spins these plot developments with smooth alacrity and with acidulous wit, especially focused on the way shallow and mediocre people can occupy positions of power and esteem: "In his profession, Vernon was revered as a nonentity." His ability to sculpt a scene with such arresting visual detail that it assumes a physical dimension for the reader (most memorably in the opening of Enduring Love but also evident here as Clive observes a woman being accosted by a rapist, and as Vernon watches a TV interview that signals the end of his career) are undiminished. But when, in the last third of the book, McEwan manipulates the plot to achieve a less than credible symmetry, it is obvious that, despite the Booker recognition, this is far from McEwan's best novel. That said, however, it will undoubtedly hit the bestseller charts, for McEwan, even when not quite at the top of his form, is a writer of compelling gifts. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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