Saturday, May 1, 2010

Amsterdam, by Ian McEwan

A pox on large print! I somehow ended up with the easy-to-read edition of this book, and felt shouted at the entire time I was reading it. I am trying to blame that for my huge disappointment in this novel. Which is sort of interesting, given all this Kindle debate - does the delivery system affect one's enjoyment of the product? Hard to say definitively; I've never read a book on a Kindle, and honestly I've always figured it wouldn't make much difference to me. But if I ever get a LARGE PRINT book again I will be tempted to send it back and wait for the original.

Sadly, I really don't think it would have helped to have a brand new, signed, hardbound copy. Ian McEwan is one of my favorite authors, I adore Booker Prize winners... what can I say? I figured I would love this book. Instead, it seemed contrived, predictable and silly, though amusing at times. It is interesting to me that I feel just a tiny bit guilty disliking an award-winning work by a writer I like so much. Kind of like seeing my child's artwork pinned up on the classroom wall and thinking that the lines are awkward and the colors clash.

Where I heard about this book
: Trying to catch up on all things McEwan.

What I thought of this book
: Sigh. 3, no, 2 1/2 stars. He is a good writer.

What this book is about
: A satire about two old friends who reconnect at a funeral. Over the course of subsequent weeks they make one another a promise, get angry, forgive, get angry again, and come up with a ridiculous plot for revenge. What exactly is being satirized? The press, politicians, celebrities; the usual suspects. I'm glad it was short - I probably would have made myself finish no matter the length.

is a new book website I've found. It's got review summaries, a review consensus, and a list of grades from various respected sources. Kind of like the rotten tomatoes of books. They describe their site as follows:
A selectively comprehensive, objectively opinionated survey of books old and new, trying to meet all your book review, preview, and information needs.
Which would make me obsolete, to say the least, but check them out, anyway.

This is what I found there for Amsterdam.


  1. I am also not a fan of large print - so I cn understand where you are coming from here. Ian McEwan is a difficult writer I think and I do not always get on with his writing - I loved Enduring Love and Atonement - but others I have found very hard to get along with.

    A pleasure to discover your blog


  2. Thanks, Hannah - I'm enjoying yours, too!