Becky's Reviews > Amsterdam

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
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's review
Nov 24, 07

really liked it
bookshelves: booker-winners
Read in November, 2007

another booker prize winner, amsterdam is a tightly constructed little novel filled with black humor and sharp satire. it begins with four men, ex-lovers of a dead woman, meeting up at her funeral. two of them, old friends, make a pact to kill each other if they become as insane as the recently deceased became toward the end of her life. that pact, unsurprisingly, has unexpected consequences as their friendship begins to spin out of control, devolving into hatred and revenge. many complain that the plot of the novel is too predictable and the characters too unlikeable, and though i agree somewhat, i thought those aspects of the novel added to it rather than subtracted. the moderate predictability of the plot really underscored the fatalistic tone taken by the narrator, and i found the characters realistically flawed rather than simply despicable. overall, i personally thought the book was a thought-provoking fable about the consequences of morally bankrupt life decisions and their resulting fallout, as well as the emotional instability that lurks within even the most self-composed of us, driving us to the brink in the heat of anger. this was my first introduction to ian mcewan. i've heard that this book isn't his best, that the booker prize was awarded to it more as a recognition of his overall body of work. however, i thoroughly enjoyed this one, so i look forward to reading more of his work.
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04/26 marked as: read

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