Thursday, June 10, 2010

Julia's review of Amsterdam

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.

(Originally posted on my own blog.)


  1. Oh dear, Julia! Sorry this was a disappointment, although I admit I liked Atonement much more than Amsterdam.

    Thanks for posting your first review -- I'm looking forward to more from you!

  2. I felt cheated as well, this just wasn't up to his normal standards at all and by the 'dramatic' conclusion I was laughing at how cheesy it was!

    Atonement was SO much better.