- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (1 April 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408821362
- ISBN-13: 978-1408821367
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.3 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 992,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Light of Amsterdam Hardcover – 1 Apr 2012
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The Light of Amsterdam looks destined to become an international literary bestseller with immense human appeal. Echoes of the great Brian Moore are evident as is a sensibility similar to that of the US master Richard Ford, but Park is more than merely a fine writer with a great deal to say - as if that were not sufficient. He is an astute storyteller whose vision is sustained by instinct, intelligent observation and a sense of responsibility. There is also a determination to perfect his art. He was never going to settle for being very good; he wanted much more and has certainly achieved it (Eileen Battersby Irish Times)
A stealthily affecting novel, this could well give more famous names a run for their Booker money (GQ)
One of the shrewdest observers of the way we live now (Independent)
As Park's cast arrives in Amsterdam ... the momentum of the trip and Park's tumbling, lyrical prose keep you turning the pages (Daily Mail)
Like Jane Austen and EM Forster, Park sets his characters a moral examination ... Park never forgets that he is telling a story - or rather, several stories - but his method is dramatic ... The Light of Amsterdam is a very good novel indeed (Allan Massie Scotsman)
The extraordinary new novel from David ParkSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Each of the three main characters in this story is heading to Amsterdam; each with different hopes, fears and expectations of what the trip will bring them. Each will be surprised.
This book is primarily about love - its mark left on every page. Marion is going with her husband and plans to provide him with what she thinks he wants and needs to bring him happiness. Divorcee Alan is unexpectedly accompanied by his troubled teenage son and is (as well as firing enthusiasm within his own life) hoping to find a connection with him which will bring them back to a time when awkwardness and lack of understanding did not stand between them; when the love he had for his son was simple and unquestionably reciprocated. Karen is travelling with her daughter on her hen party, uncomfortable and not really wanting to go, but determined to be there for her. Karen has made it her life's work to make life good for her daughter and to protect her from harm.
The events which transpire for each character during their time in Amsterdam are often, on the surface, fairly mundane. But Park bathes the characters' thoughts, desires and actions in a light of value and importance which brings to the reader a sense of viewing ordinary life through special glass which has the ability to enlighten, enrich and bring a depth of meaning to the same. Each character will be lifted from their well-trodden path in life and placed on a new one because of their time in Amsterdam.
For me, the characters' stories illustrate beautifully the fact that some situations in life, which seem to be obviously controllable, can not be controlled, manipulated or worked out - there is always an unknown quantity.Read more ›
The novel opens with George Best's funeral cortege, winding its way through the streets of East Belfast. It grounds the novel. It shows us we are exploring a slice of life in Belfast - straddling the working class through Karen, a cleaner at a retirement home, visiting Amsterdam on her daughter's hen party; Marian, wife of a garden centre owner is worried that her husband is no longer interested in her, travels with him back to Amsterdam to relive a honeymoon; and Alan, forced by circumstance to take his teenage son with him as he travels to see Bob Dylan in concert. We see the characters in their home lives; we see them starting out their journey to the airport, and we see them finding their feet in Amsterdam. We see them taking decisions we would never take ourselves, we see them finding meanings that we would never find. But that's the point - these are people who are not like us. Although, as they grow and develop, as they use the clear light of Amsterdam to see themselves, we find connections. We care about their fates. There is humour but it is not a comic novel.
Amsterdam takes a bit of a back seat. The city is there, Rijksmuseum, red light district, canals and cafes, but it is only ever a backdrop for the human drama.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is another compassionate and original novel by Park. As usual the prose is beautiful but always serves to move the narrative and character depth on and never feels like it is... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Carolyn Cahalane
brilliant wee read especially as its a local story with a belfast writerPublished 8 months ago by carolyn
I picked this book up on a charity stall and really enjoyed reading it. It's Maeve Binchy, but edgier. Three sets of people from Belfast, on the same plane to Amsterdam. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Closet Romantic
Really nice read and hard to put down! The ending was quite abrupt but I suppose that means that I can imagine what happens to the characters in the future. Read morePublished on 15 Jun. 2015 by DAVID RIDDLE
Great read from a unique author. Almost as good as The Big Snow.Published on 6 Jun. 2015 by amazon customer
Enjoyed it up to a point but did not like the ending at all. A book that sort of went nowhere.Published on 14 Mar. 2015 by Jean Maguire
Really enjoyed this book, author wrote it really well and I would read it again.Published on 25 Oct. 2014 by Rachel