Contemporary Fiction Ian McEwan Amsterdam

ISBN 13: 9780385494236

Amsterdam

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9780385494236: Amsterdam

On a chilly February day, two old friends meet in the throng outside a 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; Vernon is editor of the quality broadsheet The Judge.  Gorgeous, feisty Molly had 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 neither has 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.  

In Amsterdam, a contemporary morality tale that is as profound as it is witty, we have Ian McEwan at his wisest and most wickedly disarming.  And why Amsterdam?  What happens there to Clive and Vernon is the most delicious climax of a novel brimming with surprises.

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Review:

When good-time, fortysomething Molly Lane dies of an unspecified degenerative illness, her many friends and numerous lovers are led to think about their own mortality. Vernon Halliday, editor of the upmarket newspaper the Judge, persuades his old friend Clive Linley, a self-indulgent composer of some reputation, to enter into a euthanasia pact with him. Should either of them be stricken with such an illness, the other will bring about his death. From this point onward we are in little doubt as to Amsterdam's outcome--it's only a matter of who will kill whom. In the meantime, compromising photographs of Molly's most distinguished lover, foreign secretary Julian Garmony, have found their way into the hands of the press, and as rumors circulate he teeters on the edge of disgrace. However, this is McEwan, so it is no surprise to find that the rather unsavory Garmony comes out on top. Ian McEwan is master of the writer's craft, and while this is the sort of novel that wins prizes, his characters remain curiously soulless amidst the twists and turns of plot. --Lisa Jardine

From the Back Cover:

Winner of the 1998 Booker Prize

"Amsterdam is a pitiless study of the darker aspects of male psychology, of male paranoia, emotional frigidity, sexual jealousy, professional rivalry and performance anxiety....Despite the darkness of the themes, or perhaps because of them, Amsterdam is extremely funny in a black sort of way....Ghoulishly compelling."
--Alain de Botton, Independent on Sunday

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