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Amsterdam

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  36,023 Ratings  ·  2,704 Reviews
Nach vielen guten Romanen, die der Engländer Ian McEwan in den letzten Jahren veröffentlicht hat, die teilweise auch hervorragend verfilmt wurden, man denke an Der Zementgarten, hat er es mit seinem neuesten, jetzt auf deutsch erschienenen Werk geschafft, den renommierten Booker Prize 1998 für den besten Roman zu erhalten. Ein glänzend geschriebenes Werk um die Mechanismen ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 2001 by Diogenes (first published 1998)
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Xav The book is set in modern times (probably early 2000's). Amsterdam does feature later in the book (though cursorily), though the story is more…moreThe book is set in modern times (probably early 2000's). Amsterdam does feature later in the book (though cursorily), though the story is more concentrated on the central characters - their past, their motives. The central characters are predominantly male and it explores their thoughts and relationships to each other. The book has a "short story" feel to it. I recommend it.(less)
Jim Coyle Yes, the switch in tone towards the end is a little off putting. I agree the extreme punishment meted out is unmerited, but it makes for a neat…moreYes, the switch in tone towards the end is a little off putting. I agree the extreme punishment meted out is unmerited, but it makes for a neat finale.(less)

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will
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

Is it just me or do other people "shy away" from books that look a little too intellectual for them? I read because I enjoy it. I am at an age where I don't need to read to impress. I like a good book (and I hate a bad book) and will read anything that interests me. I am shallow enough to pick a book up because I like the picture on the front or I like the title. I occasionally read books that others have recommended but I have to know what the other person likes. Too oft
...more
Jim Fonseca
A novel about moral dilemmas. From the title, the main theme is assisted suicide, legal in the Netherlands. Not only that, but suppose your lifetime best buddy asks you to pledge that you will accompany him to Amsterdam if he becomes incapacitated? The book opens with this theme at the funeral of a beautiful woman, 46 years old. She had been a lover or wife of four of the main male characters in the book. She died incapacitated from a debilitating disease. Her slimy husband took care of her and ...more
Glenn Sumi
This sly little dark comedy – an unusual Booker Prize winner – examines aging and ethics in turn-of-the-millennium London.

A woman’s death irrevocably changes the lives of three of her former lovers: a composer, a newspaper editor and a politician, each one staring down middle-age and mortality with varying degrees of acceptance and equanimity.

McEwan’s prose is impeccable, and he’s clearly done his research. His depiction of the newspaper world, in which editors are under the gun to get that scoo
...more
AC

This book made me want to scream.... On finishing it, I *literally* threw it against the wall in anger.

This is my third McEwan, all read in a row. I truly adored this book - while reading it, I saw it becoming his masterpiece. It was going to be a 5-star read. He writes simply, but the register of feelings is not simple in the least, his delicate probings into human neurosis is, while restrained, almost always and surprisingly on target -- I think one needs to have a bit of middle-age, perhaps,
...more
Iris
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a brilliant read, the second Ian McEwan novel I have read. I am tantalised by his dexterity as a writer, his ability to write in a completely different style from that employed in Atonement. This was utterly gripping. I read this as I am going to be leading discussion on this in the book group I lead at my former school, with sixth form students who are studying Atonement. McEwan manages to captivate the attention of readers so forcefully, though the characters are questionable in their ...more
Fabian
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A clear exercise on brevity, this is exactly what I mean when I say that contempo writers are cutting corners by telling their story with as little words, adornments, as possible, albeit establishing a more substantial umph! at the novel's conclusion. The writer of "Amsterdam" used the same exact model to write a later book: an unsuccessful meditation on being filthy rich in modern London in "Saturday," an overall truly horrendous ordeal, & "On Chesil Beach", a work of repression...totally b ...more
Robin
Apr 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Julie
Starting with the exceedingly delightful and clever Nutshell, followed by the unequivocal work of perfection that is On Chesil Beach, this is the third Ian McEwan book I've gobbled up in a matter of weeks. This is also the 1998 winner of the Booker Prize.

I was hopeful that this would be the third in a sequence of ascending steps, each one that much more fine, each one defying writerly logic more than the one preceding it. But alas.

This Booker winner, while still full of writing that brings one t
...more
Alison
Jan 06, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of M. Night Shyalaman who pretend to read philosopher before pilates class.
I'm tired of the super-twist endings and the ponderous philosophical musings on guilt and morality. I'm tired of successful, monied people in nicely renovated townhouses feeling sorry for themselves. Maybe I don't get Ian McEwan. I'm okay with that. But I'm not going to read another one of these.
Julie
About a month ago, I was introduced to Ian McEwan through his novel Atonement. I nearly consumed the damn thing, chewed its corners to bits and pieces, scribbled messy notes all over its pages. I was starved for more of his writing, and I ordered On Chesil Beach, post-haste.

On Chesil Beach is FABULOUS. Truly. So fabulous, in fact, that I was worried my husband might become annoyed at my new feelings for an actual LIVING writer. You see, he agreed to all of my dead literary lovers, those who were
...more
Darwin8u
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"There really wasn't much else to do. Make something, and die."
- Ian McEwan, Amsterdam

description

It won the Booker, but wasn't my favorite Ian McEwan. Similar to The Children Act in its use of classical music (one of the main characters is a classical composer), it is almost too clean, too moralizing, too easily tied up. But really, those are my only major complaints. I found it fascinating at parts and love love love it when Ian McEwan writes fiction about composing or music.

There are a few writers I've
...more
Duane
My third Ian McEwan and another excellent read. Not quite on the level of Atonement, but still good, good enough to win the Booker Prize. It has a different feel than the other two, more of a modern day intrigue. Interesting characters, though not all that likeable, a little too elitist for me, but McEwan's storyline carries the day. The best character may be the one they buried at the beginning of the book, Molly. McEwan should write a prequel centering around her character. 4 stars.

1998 Booker
...more
Madeline
Jan 13, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-list, ugh
The only thing worse than a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a Manic Pixie Dream girl created by Ian McEwan.

Having only read two of his novels so far (this one and Atonement), I obviously can't speak for his entire body of work, but at the moment I am astonished at McEwan's ability to make all female love interests in his stories utterly unappealing. First Cecilia Tallis, now Molly Lane.

At least Molly, for all intents and purposes, does not actually matter in the grand scope of this book. When it sta
...more
Jr Bacdayan
Think of the shittiest, stupidest, most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done in your life. There now, I’m sure it was still classy, whatever it was, because you are a perfectly intelligent human being. You’ve read quite a number of complicated books; surely that elevates you above the lot of the Homo sapiens. You’re a Homo superior, a sapiosexual, a polymath, a refined member of the species whose primary attribute is a ridiculous tolerance for countless words. You’re the thinking man’s Jedi Knigh ...more
Edward
What is this absurd nonsense. Everything I wrote yesterday about Black Dogs in terms of plot and characterisation applies equally to Amsterdam, except where Black Dogs attempts (but fails) to be a good novel, Amsterdam seems to lack even the intention. It is impossible to take this novel seriously. The characters are ridiculous. The plot is ridiculous. The entire novel is a setup to a conclusion so laughably stupid, that it made me want reevaluate my ratings of McEwan's other novels. Sure, it ...more
Chris
Nov 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read McEwan's Enduring Love, was bored by a little too much phoned-in prose, and ended up reading Amsterdam instead, because it sat on the shelf of my rental, between The Lovely Bones and a Harlequin Intrigue sampler.

In retrospect, that was about right. What the hell, Amsterdam. I read you in two days, like you were a Hardy Boys book. You are about eight pages long, and part of the thrill of reading you was glancing up and being like "I'm 25% of the way through! I'm halfway already! L
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Man Booker Winner 1998, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006 version)
Shelves: 1001-non-core, booker
My 2nd book by Ian Russell McEwan (born 1948). I have a copy of all his 11 novels except his latest ones, On Chesil Beach and Solar. I am waiting for them to show up in my favorite second-hand books store.

Enduring Love was my first by him. I read it last year and I liked it so much that I would not want to read another of his book. I guess I was afraid I would be disappointed and considering that I have all his books, what would I do with them if I did not like the 2nd? That is possible, right?
...more
Maciek
I gave Amsterdam two stars because it's so short and there's this weird kind of peculiar joy when you read it. Look, 20 pages! 50 pages! Halfway through!
Other than that, it's one of those boring white-collar novels featuring the seemingly enlightening but nonethelessly ponderous, intelectual and philosophical musings of succesful, rich people who live in their big villas and feel sorry for themselves. None of the characters is memorable or likeable, and the novella (it's under 200 pages) never r
...more
Betsy Robinson
This is not a review-type comment, but my reaction to McEwan’s work, after reading my third novel by him, is that I love the familiarity I feel: the way he thinks about characters, the way they think about one another, the honesty about all the dark, embedded ego reactions. This is my primal, private language, so even though our writing styles are almost opposite—McEwan writes effortless narrative descriptions and inner dialogues that go on for pages, and I prefer the fewest words possible—I fee ...more
Kelly
I suppose my experience of reading this book can be best compared to hearing Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, then the Ninth Symphony, and then being played the Moonlight Sonata. It isn't that this book is any less deserving of praise than Atonement or Enduring Love (I shall leave it to you to figure out which one I classed as the Eroica and which one as the Ninth. :)), but I believe the purpose and the scale of those two books are on a completely different plane than Amsterdam, but intentionally so ...more
Arun Divakar
The richly air conditioned and plushly carpetted conference halls, bottles of water and pieces of chocolate on the table, writing pads & pens, the rich buffet lunch, tea & coffee in a timely fashion.

I can sum up many a professional training session at best in these words. In most cases, what happens afterwards is that on getting home and reflecting a bit on the days spent, I invariably end up remembering close to nothing from those glitzy presentations nor the content. I am sometimes
...more
Mike Puma
With funerals as an arching motif, great humor, and unnatural deaths, this longish novella is as if written by Agatha Christie after a crash course on writing with Poe and having drunk just enough with Roberto Bolaño.

“Such a tolerant, openminded, and grown-up sort of place”—such is the way McEwan describes the city of Amsterdam, and such is the way I’d describe the novel, Amsterdam—a story of mature friendships made vulnerable by differing views of tolerance and openmindedness and the growing r
...more
Lisa
Mar 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker
Shakespeare used to use Venice as a setting for wickedness and corruption because Italian cities were fair game and a beaut contrast to the respectabilities of England. McEwan has used Amsterdam as a place of freedom to do dreadful things with drugs and state-sanctioned deaths, and to deliver a shocking finale to this very entertaining book. A reviewer called Kirkham on Amazon dismissed this book as 'middle-brow fiction British style - strong on the surface, vapid at the centre', but I don't agr ...more
Anuradha
Okay, I should probably start off by saying that I know not how to rate this book, or how to review it. The story itself was very polarising for me; the writing was beautiful, no doubts about that, but the story itself was very lacklustre. True, the prose, the writing of the book, for me, is the most important aspect, but in this case, I guess, I had expectations from the story as well. I've heard many good things about McEwan, and I can see why, he can make you feel. Even in a story that had ab ...more
Helle
This was a slightly odd, well-written and reasonably enjoyable book – but a surprising Booker Prize winner. What I love about McEwan is his ability to look inside different people’s heads, his sometimes Woolf-like free indirect style of viewing the world, introspectively and polyphonically. He does that best in Atonement, in my view, but then I love the ambience and the story in that novel, and the characters drew me in completely.

In this novel, however, we follow three men: a musician, a politi
...more
Will
Aug 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Clever and well-written in McEwan’s usual precise style but a bit too contrived, especially at the end. I think really only 2.5 stars.

Two friends, ex-lovers of the recently deceased Molly, duke it out when Molly’s husband lets them know about some compromising transvestite photos of a third lover, who is slated to become Britain’s next PM. There is a fair bit of sardonic humour involving the two friends – Clive, a musician commissioned to compose an Opus for the Millennium (this is 1998) and Ver
...more
Kecia
I learned that when you let your self-importance get in the way of your humanity you are doomed.

Yet another good read from Mr. McEwan
Jorge
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entiendo que Ian McEwan actualmente goza de las preferencias y los favores de un importante y variado público, digamos que este autor Inglés está de moda entre un vasto sector de lectores tanto de los llamados “profesionales” como entre los lectores ocasionales, ya que su estilo se presta a una lectura ágil e interesante, sin menoscabo de algunos toques moralizantes y artísticos. Me parece que McEwan es de esos autores que poseen el don de gustar universalmente. Su obra Amsterdam contiene una hi ...more
Steve
Jul 30, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can someone who writes so well (like McEwan) make me so ambivalent about his prize winning book? By drawing darker, more degenerate characters than I would ever hope to know. I just didn't buy that people McEwan imbued with human thoughts and emotions to begin with could turn out to be so void of humanity in the end.
Sarah Anne
The two characters in this were morally bankrupt in unsettling and distasteful ways. I spent most of the book sick to my stomach and with a two star rating in mind. But then the end happened. I loved the end. It even bumped it up to three stars :)
Joachim Stoop
Strange that McEwan received the Booker Price for the novel that -comparing to everything I've read so far- was the least convincing and sparkling of his novels
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the World ...: Discussion for Amsterdam by Ian McEwan 8 119 Aug 16, 2016 07:03AM  
Dark Comedy? 4 59 Jan 17, 2016 04:39AM  
Clive's police testimony? *spoilers* 4 43 Aug 20, 2014 10:18PM  
What McEwan can teach fiction writers: double meanings and dramatic tension 1 55 Dec 02, 2012 11:38AM  
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2408
Ian McEwan was born on 21 June 1948 in Aldershot, England. He studied at the University of Sussex, where he received a BA degree in English Literature in 1970. He received his MA degree in English Literature at the University of East Anglia.

McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last
...more
More about Ian McEwan...

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“We knew so little about eachother. We lay mostly submerged, like ice floes with our visible social selves projecting only cool and white. Here was a rare sight below the waves, of a man's privacy and turmoil, of his dignity upended by the overpowering necessity of pure fantasy, pure thought, by the irreducible human element - Mind. ” 26 likes
“He would work through the night and sleep until lunch. There wasn't really much else to do. Make something, and die.” 22 likes
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