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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A McEwan Masterpiece, 13 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Amsterdam: Winner of the Booker Prize 1998 (Paperback)
A morality tale with devastating consequences.

I used to be what I class myself as a `boring reader', sticking to the monotonous romances seen in novels like that of Jackie Collins. When asked to read for a university assignment a book that had won the Man Booker Prize, I was quick to scan the winners for one that fitted my usual tedious choice. Romance. Amsterdam by Ian McEwan seemed a perfect choice.

Amsterdam turned out to be a contemporary novel of its time, one full of unforeseen manipulation and desired devastation. Definitely not my usual choice. Yet, it is the best book I have read all year. I urge you, therefore to step out of your comfort zone, and take a chance on Amsterdam. I hope this review, will give you a little taster into McEwan and his exceptional writing skills, but if anything, will just make you want to pick up his book and find out what all the fuss is about.

This is McEwan at his finest. Although some say the likes of `Atonement' and `Enduring Love' are his best novels to date, Man Booker Prize Winner 1999 `Amsterdam' shows McEwan lovers everywhere what he is really capable of.

With the infamous Molly Lane, renowned for `dancing naked on the table on Christmas Eve' dead. Her three famous lovers are thrown in a tale of manipulation and deceit. And with a pact between two of them that will undoubtedly lead to devastation, and the twisted yet revealing ending, you will be left desperate for more.

McEwan's style of writing throughout Amsterdam paved way to this destructive novel. With each chapter came another focal point on one of Molly's lovers. Each character is allowed in this way to share with you their own opinions and underlying feelings on the same betrayals that have taken place. This gives you the chance to get into the mindset of every character, and left me continuously trying to second guess what will be the next twist and turn. Something many novels lack. Poignantly, McEwan leaves Molly Lane's husband, George until last, and it is this emphasis that shows us the true depths of this mortality novel.

Understanding the characters in this way, allows you to form a relationship with them all which I found lead me quickly to a favourite, whether it be broadsheet news editor Vernon Halliday, successful modern composer Clive Linely or Foreign Secretary Julian Garmony. All are favored and hated in equal measure. When it came to discussing this novel with a friend we were both eager to defend and support our favourite, thinking they would inevitably be the same character, it shocked us to see we had chosen the two polar opposites of the book. This can held down to nothing more than McEwan's sophisticated writing skills that showed no biased to be on any character, letting us, the reader, make our own assumptions and take from the book exactly what we wanted.

For someone was stuck in a romance rut, the writing style, the plot, and the heartbreak, left me not being able to put this book down.
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