In the High Peaks

Monday, March 14, 2016

Reading Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

I'm currently in the midst of reading Amsterdam by Ian McEwan, the 1998 Booker Prize winner. The relationship of Clive the elite composer and Vernon, the big newspaper editor, intrigues me as it strains against and weathers several moral crises. The two men impart and half-hint at their moral crises to each other but neither man listens, appreciates, or fully comprehends what's going on with their friend OR with themselves as individuals. Both men, because of their all-exclusive attention to their careers, miss opportunities to act according to their own moralities. Very interesting indeed.

Amsterdam is a slim volume at 191 "short" pages, due to the diminution of some of McEwan's volumes. So the book is by no means much of a commitment of time for the reader, which is an interesting aspect of some of McEwan's most serious novels. Amsterdam is just as timely today as it was when it was published. The drama and fanfare of political expose and scandal brew at the heart of the novel, but actually they are merely the backdrop for McEwan's purpose.

I am enjoying this novel and must say that I'm a huge admirer of McEwan's novels and his boldness in confronting topics that writers of contemporary literature just won't touch and doesn't do.  I'm speaking frankly of On Chesil Beach. No one writes about the issue that confronts this sad couple. No one. And he did it very well.

I will confess, though, that I'm still furious with him about his treatment of the female protagonist in Atonement.

Have you read any of Ian McEwan's novels? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

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