Monday, January 25, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Amsterdam by Ian McEwan



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ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

On a chilly February day, two old friends meet in the throng outside a London 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, and Vernon is editor of the newspaper The Judge. Gorgeous, feisty Molly 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 that neither could have 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. A sharp contemporary morality tale, cleverly disguised as a comic novel, Amsterdam is "as sheerly enjoyable a book as one is likely to pick up this year" (The Washington Post Book World).

MY REVIEW:

Have you ever read a book where every time you stopped for a moment you wanted to regurgitate everything you'd just read to someone else in the room because you didn't want them to miss it?  That was this book for me.

Amsterdam is very short, just 200 pages, yet somehow McEwan is able to pack a lot into those pages.  Plus, his writing style is so smooth that I was surprised by how fast I was able to flow through each chapter.

The story starts on a somber note, the funeral of a woman named Molly who, we learn, had many lovers during her lifetime.  Two of those former lovers, Clive and Vernon, are long-time friends who are turning into old men, and Molly's death causes them to begin seeing things in a new light -- their lives, their careers and their futures.  They end up making a pact with one another, one that has disastrous consequences.

Although the subject matter is dark and morbid, I found the story itself funny and entertaining.  It is literary irony at its best.  I highly recommend this book for lovers of literary fiction.

Favorite quote: “He would work through the night and sleep until lunch. There wasn't really much else to do. Make something, and die.”