Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (2/5)

First published: 1998
Page count: 193

The back says: On a chilly February day, two old friends meet in the throng outside a crematorium to pay their last respects to Molly Lane. Both Clive Linley and Vernon Halliday had been Molly’s lovers in the days before they reached their current eminence. Clive is Britain’s most successful modern composer; Vernon is editor of the quality broadsheet The Judge. Gorgeous, feisty Molly had had other lovers, too, notably Julian Garmony, foreign secretary, a notorious right-winger tipped to be the next prime minister. In the days that follow Molly’s funeral, Clive and Vernon will make a pact with consequences neither has foreseen. Each will make a disastrous moral decision, their friendship will be tested to its limits, and Julian Garmony will be fighting for his political life.
I say: Well, this was a disappointing read. I’ve been hearing great things about McEwan, and Amsterdam, but I haven’t been in the mood to search him out, so finding this in a used book store was interpreted as a sign to give it a go.

Which I did.

With great effort.

This is a short read that somehow managed to bore me into thinking it was at least 500 pages. The inane details of Clive’s hike in the Cotswolds and his music, mixed with the tedium of Vernon’s newspaper career almost put me to sleep. But I laboured on, thinking that surely something spectacular is about to happen.

It didn’t.
I could see the end from miles way and it was such a disappointment I can’t even know what to say. I mean, really? You take us on this journey and have it end like that?

There isn’t much to say about McEwan’s prose; it shifted between pretentious and mundane, and there was far too much focus on describing things that felt irrelevant to the plot. A lot of it felt like fillers and at 193 pages it was still about 150 pages too long.

2/5 for this and I’m in no hurry to pick up any other of McEwan’s books, but if I stumble upon one, I’ll give it another go.

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