Amsterdam – Ian McEwan

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‘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?!!

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  1. Sandra says:

    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.

  2. Erez Gordon says:


    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 Something I have since rescinded thankfully but still, the judges that year jeopardised the value of the Man Booker prize.

    1. Jackie says:

      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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