Amsterdam
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Amsterdam

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Description

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 as Britain's most successful modern composer, Vernon as 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 that will have 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.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 130 x 196 x 16mm | 199.58g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • VINTAGE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099272776
  • 9780099272779
  • 6,198

About Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan has written two collections of short stories and twelve novels. He has also written several film scripts, including The Imitation Game,The Ploughman's Lunch, Sour Sweet, The Good Son and The Innocent.

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Review Text

Winner of this year's Booker Prize, McEwan's latest (Black Dogs, 1992; Enduring Love, 1998) is a smartly written tale that devolves slowly into tricks and soapy vapors. When she dies of a sudden, rapidly degenerative illness, London glamour photographer Molly Lane is married to rich British publisher George Lane, although numerous erstwhile lovers still live and stir in the controversial Molly's wake. These high-visibility figures include internationally famed composer Clive Linley, racing now to complete his overdue magnum opus, a new symphony for the millennium; his close friend Vernon Halliday, the liberal, ambitious, idealistic editor of a London newspaper that's struggling hard to keep its readership; and right-winger Thatcherite Julian Garmony, now Britain's foreign secretary. The daily lives of these three high-profilers - though mostly of Clive and Vernon, who receive the main focus - are nothing if not interesting in the capable hands of McEwan, who shows himself more than plentifully knowledgeable in the details of journalism and music, describing with a Masterpiece Theater color and exactness the torments of composition and the rigors of keeping a big newspaper in business. The machinery of plot gradually takes over, though, when George finds, in Molly's left-behind things, three wildly incriminating sex-photos of the foreign secretary - and makes them available to Vernon Halliday, for whom the idea of bringing down the conservative Garmony (who's considering a run for PM) by publishing the pictures is irresistible. This plan of massive public humiliation, however, offends Clive Linley, who thinks of it as a deep betrayal of the dead Molly, and bitterness rises like a serpent in the CliveVernon friendship, hardly put to rest when Vernon learns of something morally dubious that Clive's just done - and that could, in fact, be made a nifty tool of revenge. And so things progress via trick, counter-trick, and backfire, in a novelistic try for a big ending that just gets littler instead. Middle-brow fiction British style, strong on the surface, vapid at the center. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Review quote

"A psychologically brilliant study of heartlessness" Sunday Telegraph "One of the finest writers alive" Sunday Times "Full of gusto, straightforward, and delivers blows to the gut...shocking" -- A. S. Byatt Literary Review "McEwan writes here with unobtrusive panache" Daily Telegraph "Amsterdam is brilliantly engineered and marvellously entertaining" Evening Standard

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