Amsterdam

Amsterdam

I think one of the main reasons I like McEwan is his spare prose. Every word in his books is carefully placed and every sentence recalls a distinct image or feeling. Amsterdam is a very masculine book; it offers a very honest exploration of the dynamics of human relationships in our modern world. Friendship, jealousy, pride, the search of status and recognition, aversion to helplessness and morals are all dealt very wittily and honestly in this book . The plot seems pretty straight forward, but it gradually starts increasing on its intensity and tempo. The result is a surprising and very dramatic ending.

McEwan’s characters are not likable in the least, at times I felt the need to roll my eyes and tell them to get over themselves, yet I kept reading. I feel like many readers may feel that this book is a bit ethnocentric, I certainly thought so. I don’t think many people outside of the UK would have been able to understand the extent of the power games described in this book between the press -in this case newspapers- and politicians. It exists in America to a lesser extent, but I am not sure about the rest of the world. However, the underlying themes are universal: Politicians will always be in search of public approval and will do anything to climb to the top, and men that oppose their ideologies will use anything available to them to see their attempts thwarted -even if it means taking a moral gamble and alienating their friends and family in the process, friendship are fragile and love will turn to hate if the right buttons are pushed, pettiness and jealousy will drive men to seek revenge. In our modern times we like to think that we are above such base things; we are not McEwan reminds us in his painfully honest style.

My recommendation comes with a caveat: many readers will find it hard to relate to this book. There are many references to music and literature that may not be part of general knowledge and they may act as an interference to the plot. Caveat Emptor indeed!

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Economics Student by day, classical singer by night. My hobbies are: painting, drawing, gardening, embroidery, photography, and learning how to play the piano.

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Vivian has read 23 books toward her goal of 100 books.
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