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Amsterdam Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Unabridged edition edition (19 Oct. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0001055666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0001055667
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 2.8 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,990,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian McEwan is a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children's novel illustrated by Anthony Browne. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, The Cement Garden, Enduring Love, Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize, Atonement, Saturday and On Chesil Beach.

Product Description

Amazon 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 up-market 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 succumb to such an illness, the other will effect his death. From this point onwards we are in little doubt as to the novel'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 rumours circulate he teeters on the edge of disgrace. However, this is McEwan, so it is no surprise to find that the rather unsavoury Garmony comes out on top. 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“with Alan Bates reading, HarperCollins has scored a palpable hit that captures perfectly the McEwan menace.”
Times 5/12/98

“Alan Bates has the luxury of an unedited text, which he delivers in a rich, fruity timbre, with both ease and pleasure.”
Observer 17/1/99

“Deliciously sharply written, this tale of moral dilemmas is superbly read by Alan Bates.”
Express 19/12/98

“Bates conveys that he is enjoying the book, especially the tightly realised descriptive passages and the racy narrative.”
Financial Times 12/12/98


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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Feb. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ian McEwan is, without a doubt, one of the greatest writers of dark fiction today. But his novella "Amsterdam" is something of a misfire, reading more like the sluggishly-filled-out outline for a novel rather than a novel itself. While it has the seeds of genius, his usual introspection and depth is both missing and sorely missed.

Molly Lane is dead, her mind and body wrecked by an unspecified disease. Now her assorted lovers and friends reunite one last time, including Molly's ex-boyfriends Clive and Vernon, respectively a prominent composer and a not-so-respected newspaper editor. Because of Molly, they are friends -- and they enter into a pact because of her death.

But things go awry when Vernon gets his hands on photos of the Foreign Secretary Julian Garmony, cross-dressing and photographed by Molly. Eager to bring down Garmony and bring up his readership, Vernon wants to publish the photos in his newspaper; Clive is disgusted by this, yet he allows a rapist and murderer to go free for the sake of his musical inspiration. Which man is worse?

"Amsterdam" is like a city in winter: pretty at a distance but rather empty and cold when you walk through it. In theory it has all the elements needed for a great novel, but it feels vaguely unfinished, as if McEwan was expanding an outline into a full-fledged novel but somehow never finished the job.

The characters are lacking in the complexity found in most of McEwan's other books, where many dimensions can be found. Clive is almost impossible to connect with; Vernon is more understandable, given his waning career. But if these characters aren't really connectable, McEwan uses them to make us look at morality, hypocrisy, and where our bad intentions can lead us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Fitzpatrick on 13 May 2014
Format: Paperback
It's difficult to take this book seriously. It reads like a farce about three middle-aged former lovers of a recently deceased woman who have an ambiguous relationship among themselves and are united in hatred of her husband who, in turn, also hates them.

The characters are the typical London metropolitan types people like McEwan write about - a government minister, composer, journalist, publisher - with not a hint of reality about them.

After a lot of toing and froing around London, with a side trip to the Lake District where the composer witnesses what might be a rape but ignores it, the book ends in a hotel in Amsterdam where a poisoned glass of champagne takes center stage and the reader waits to see which of the characters will take it.

I half expected someone's trousers to fall down at one point just to keep the story going. Mercifully they did not and the whole thing is wrapped shortly and efficiently.

Only to be read if there is absolutely nothing else around.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rob Slaven on 19 May 2015
Format: Paperback
I received this book free for review from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review. Despite the coolness of receiving a free book, I’m absolutely candid about it below because I believe authors and readers will benefit most from honest reviews rather than vacuous 5-star reviews.

The nutshell view on this book is that it is essentially the story of a friendship torn asunder. The narrative is fairly complex and the writing exceptionally literary but it does take a really long time to get to its ‘hook.’ Even when it does so, the hook isn’t terribly strong and takes a fair amount of willpower to carry forward with.

So on the positive side, the book is exceptionally erudite and paints a fine and detailed picture of its protagonists. They are very real and vividly portrayed and one could imagine knowing them in real life. Their intercourse is fairly realistic and they carry on like old friends tend to.

To the negative, the book takes a long time to get find its way to something interesting. The first full third of this short novel sets the stage and I found my mind wandering terribly and I wondered what exactly why I was bothering. Once I found the hook the a-ha moment was brief and only mildly impactful.

In summary, I can’t really find any group of readers to whom I would recommend this book. It wallows in the shallows of mediocrity and is not one that will come to mind unbidden over the coming months. In fact, utterly forgettable I’m afraid.

PS: I hope my review was helpful. If it was not, then please let me know what I left out that you’d want to know. I always aim to improve.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. M. R. on 14 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
I really can't understand why this novel won the Booker Prize.

It's trying to be typical Hardy-esque McEwan, in that one event changes everyone's lives - but the trouble is, the lives in question aren't particularly interesting. Drama is so desperately sought-after that it's impossible for any to be created.

The novel revolves around two characters, a journalist and a composer, joined by an inescapable past - apparently. They make an agreement at a funeral which eventually leads to a 'twist', although to be honest it's more like a loose tug with a lot of build-up.

McEwan's mixture of 'big' ideas with understated characters and plotlines doesn't really work here. There are a few good moments in the book but hardly good enough to constitute a Booker Prize.
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