Amsterdam – Ian McEwan

Book #81

Reviewer: Don

An intriguing read, Amsterdam is better than its blurb made it out to be.

I self select books from a narrow range, and it is fair to say that Amsterdam is not something within that range, so it was with some trepidation that I picked up this novella. Happily, although it took a couple of pages for me to click to the style of the author, I very quickly got drawn in and ended up reading the book in one sitting. Ian McEwan has a clear and concise ability with words, and I found it an easy book to read and visualise from.

The story opens at the funeral of a woman and continues with the lives of three men who were her lovers at various times in her life. Although already known to each other, in the weeks that follow the funeral the lives and fortunes of these men become inextricably entwined, and they each find themselves facing a decision that defines them. The final climactic scenes are well written and draw the various strings of the story together, and like many good stories, I found at the end that I wanted more.

There weren’t many things I disliked about this story, however I was left feeling that I would have liked it in longer form with more character development, both for the main protagonists and for the catalyst in the story, Molly. I could easily see this as a full length novel.

Overall, I liked Amsterdam. It’s a good read, and something that can easily be tucked into on a quiet Sunday afternoon.


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