1990s Booker Prize

Amsterdam – Ian McEwan

‘Amsterdam’ by Ian McEwan won the Booker prize in 1998. It begins at Molly’s funeral, which is attended by her husband George, and three of her previous lovers: Vernon, Clive, and Julian. In the days after her funeral Clive and Vernon make a pact that binds them together forever.

I read it in one sitting, but this was more due to the fact it was such a short book, rather than because it was any good. It was fairly well written, but the characters failed to engage me. I found many sections quite dull, and started to wish the book would end, so I wouldn’t have to endure them any more. I’m sure there was a lot of humour and irony in there, but it’s not that not the sort of thing that I find amusing.

The ending was a big disappointment. I could see it coming a mile off – even the cover illustration seems to give it away! The whole plot just seemed a bit child-like in it’s simplicity.

Overall, I was yet again disappointed by a Booker winner. Do I really want to read them all?!!

4 replies on “Amsterdam – Ian McEwan”

I enjoyed this a little more than you I think, but I really like all things McEwan. I often find I enjoy the shortlisted Booker titles more than the actual first place winners. Thank you for stopping by my litblog and for the recommendation of A Fine Balance. I’ve heard good things about it.


Amsterdam was a desperately woeful book. Trite, self indulgent and entirely without merit (did I go too far).

It was at the end of this book I vowed never to read another Booker prize winner. Something I have since rescinded thankfully but still, the judges that year jeopardised the value of the Man Booker prize.

Erez, I’m pleased to hear that you are still reading Booker winners. Some are terrible, but there are some great books in there. I have found the short list to be better in most cases though.

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