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Publisher's Summary

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 1998

The best-selling author of Atonement and Enduring Love, Ian McEwan is known as one of contemporary fiction’s most acclaimed writers. This Booker Prize-winning novel by McEwan finds two men connecting at the funeral of their ex-lover. Distressed by how she was slowly destroyed by an illness, the two make a pact to save each other from enduring such a fate.

©1998 Ian McEwan (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

What listeners say about Amsterdam

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Workaday Work From a Master

I respect Ian McEwan tremendously, and Atonement and Saturday are among my favorite books of all time. Amsterdam, while providing an engaging story and finely-drawn characters, left me a little cold. While I empathized with Clive's struggles to find meaning in his work and to resolve his conflict between self-absorption and separation, and found Molly to be the kind of flame that could draw moths from every corner, the plot seemed to be stretched a bit thin at times.

That said, I think that most of the action is interior, and McEwan delivers enough psychological insight to make this a compelling, if less than memorable, listen.

4 people found this helpful

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Quick and engaging, well-read

I generally prefer classics, with more complex plotting, but for the short form, I found this to be a provocative, well-written, and engaging listen. I listened while packing to move, and the story was intense enough to distract me at times, but not something that needed my full attention. The descriptions of musical composition and of aging were well done; they rounded out the story and gave it richness.

I saw it as a modern fable, so the far-fetched ending didn't bother me. The reader was great. Definitely a worthwhile listen.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Intriguing concept that doesn't catch fire.

I enjoy McEwan in both audio and written form. Just finished "The Children Act" read by Lindsey Duncan and found it completely absorbing. Amsterdam's summary sounds intriguing, but the work and I failed to engage, even after repeated attempts. Seems uncharacteristically muddy, the characters never individuate and the plot doesn't rise to distinguish from the wordy dialogue. I remain a fan of other McEwan titles.

1 person found this helpful

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A recurring disappointment

The reader/performer does a superb job.
Ian McEwan does his usual job: A book that grabs you at the start and gets you thinking "Oh my god, this is brilliant!" but that by the end leaves you wondering "What the hell just happened? Where did the plot go?"
There are two kinds of mistakes, McEwan commits every time: Either he digresses in the middle of a story and starts focusing on a part of the plot that is totally boring and irrelevant and makes you want to scream "please, return to the main plot NOW!"; or in the middle of a narrative, he starts rushing the plot through, and the book is over before anything has been explained, explored and exposed. “Amsterdam” belongs to the latter. It could be “part 1” of a three or four-part novel: but, unfortunately, it isn’t.
The humor is there, the richness of the language is there, the interesting premise is there… but no cigar.

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Eludes to something bigger with no pay off

Probably one of the almost boring reads I've ever had. thank goodness for a wonderfully done voice to read to me otherwise I wouldn't have read this book. While the characters were clearly flushed out the story was flat. It was like the writer just like Clive had this story in mind they wanted to tell and in the end flopped.

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Quite good

A fascinating study of human beings doing what they can do and the consequences of such. Well written and well narrated.