- 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: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,888,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Amsterdam Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged
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More About the Author
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.
“with Alan Bates reading, HarperCollins has scored a palpable hit that captures perfectly the McEwan menace.”
“Alan Bates has the luxury of an unedited text, which he delivers in a rich, fruity timbre, with both ease and pleasure.”
“Deliciously sharply written, this tale of moral dilemmas is superbly read by Alan Bates.”
“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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Each of the three men is involved in something of a moral crisis. Linely is working on a symphony he hopes will prove his masterpiece when he has to decide whether to interfere in what may be a rape. Halliday has to decide whether to compromise his failing paper by publishing sexually explicit and compromising pictures of Garamony that Molly had taken. Linely and Halliday sign a euthanasia pact and then quarrel over the moral choices each man must face.
The book is slender, elegant, and, alas, superficial. It is pleasant to read but lacks depth. The most interesting part of the book for me is the interest the author shows in music through the composer in the book, Linely. For me, music became the focus of attention in the book, even though Linely is basically arrogant and mediocre and only one of three or four characters in the tangled plot of the book.
At the outset of the novel, Linely is writing a commissioned symphony to celebrate the millennium but is experiencing difficulty in finishing the work and in finding an appropriately lyrical theme to end the last movement. He wants a theme that will capture both the horrors of the 20th Century and mankind's hopes and aspirations for the future -- shades of the Beethoven Ninth in more ways than one. Also like Beethoven, Linely derives inspiration from nature.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very disappointing compared to all his other classics. Couldn't feel his characters at all at all!Published 15 hours ago by Adrian Martin
I really like and admire the work of Ian McEwan.
The commercial and critical success of this particular book, however, really puzzles me. Read more
Book itself was fine, thought I didn't particularly enjoy it. Rather contrived. Purchased to read at book club, probably won't read another McEwan.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Very good, nice twist, not sure why called Amsterdam. Quite funny.Published 2 months ago by Anne Mee
Amsterdam is not as involving as I expected it to be. The sentence construction is there as is the flow of the novel, and the shimmering, confident prose. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Roland Boland
Lovely story although odd ending. But the best thing about this book is the writing. You can almost ignore the story as this is what beautiful writing looks like. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Darren Stock