I always thought I should like Ian McEwan as he is so lauded and so much part of the literary establishment. I found Saturday dubious, I couldn't finish Atonement-but Amsterdam is one of the worst books I have ever read. There is casual racism (the grateful father of a black child giving the surgeon pineapples), repeated moments of bathos (Clive comparing himself to Beethoven as he packs his 'grated cheese sandwiches'), moments of nonsense- the repeated references to the English Table tennis team- and McEwan's insistence that the incredibly rich and over indulged are somehow worthy of minute and lovingly detailed attention. All this desperation to show his research- the endless rambling about musical composition was just as tedious as all the stuff about squash (not of the orange variety unfortunately) and surgery in Saturday. I could go on. This is the emperor's new clothes- like Salman Rushdie (also unreadable) and Martin Amis (barking)- why are these people so revered, when there are so many novelists out there that are clearly much more talented and thoughtful such as Scarlett Thomas, Michelle Paver, Zadie Smith...oh yes, because they are white, upper middle class men who went to all the right schools and know all the right people, I would suggest.
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