Customer Reviews for

Amsterdam

Average Rating 3.5
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

It has been several years since I read this book. After reading

It has been several years since I read this book. After reading it, I was excited to share it with my husband who does not read novels often, but grew up in Amsterdam.

This book does not have an American sensibility. The wry turns of phrase, the tiny details that let...
It has been several years since I read this book. After reading it, I was excited to share it with my husband who does not read novels often, but grew up in Amsterdam.

This book does not have an American sensibility. The wry turns of phrase, the tiny details that let you almost inhabit the character's bodies and personas add up to a story told with the detail and sensibility of an artist's etching.

My experience generally with Booker Award novels is they are a feast of words. This is certainly that. This is book for lovers of language, for those who enjoy the sense of a culture not necessarily their own. There is an excerpt published here. Read it. If you like it, you will like the book. I notice some reviews don't care for the ending. I would say, the story belongs to the writer, to the teller. The story is the story. The ending is where the story finishes. Reading a book is not like ordering a meal in a restaurant where you get to finish with dessert or not as you wish.

posted by BigIslandAloha on March 23, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

I did not enjoy this book.

After reading Atonement, I was disappointed with this book. I knew what was going to happen about 35 pages into the book. Character development seemed very limited. I am not giving up on the author. This book just was not a book I could put on my favorites list.

posted by hheinrich on January 2, 2009

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  • Posted March 23, 2012

    It has been several years since I read this book. After reading

    It has been several years since I read this book. After reading it, I was excited to share it with my husband who does not read novels often, but grew up in Amsterdam.

    This book does not have an American sensibility. The wry turns of phrase, the tiny details that let you almost inhabit the character's bodies and personas add up to a story told with the detail and sensibility of an artist's etching.

    My experience generally with Booker Award novels is they are a feast of words. This is certainly that. This is book for lovers of language, for those who enjoy the sense of a culture not necessarily their own. There is an excerpt published here. Read it. If you like it, you will like the book. I notice some reviews don't care for the ending. I would say, the story belongs to the writer, to the teller. The story is the story. The ending is where the story finishes. Reading a book is not like ordering a meal in a restaurant where you get to finish with dessert or not as you wish.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I did not enjoy this book.

    After reading Atonement, I was disappointed with this book. I knew what was going to happen about 35 pages into the book. Character development seemed very limited. I am not giving up on the author. This book just was not a book I could put on my favorites list.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2005

    One of the finest books I've read!

    Not only is this sweeping novel beautifully written, illuminating, poetic, and thought-provoking, it's an adventure, a love story, a mystery, a tragedy, and a drama all rolled into one gorgeous work. Highly recommended. I plan to re-read it again and again, and share with everyone I know who appreciates great literature.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    Pretty good mystery with a good sense of atmosphere. The main ch

    Pretty good mystery with a good sense of atmosphere. The main character was maybe a bit cocky, but on the other hand, he kept me laughing. I liked the use of place. Now I want to go to Amsterdam, not that I would ever have any of the same problems!

    Stefani Trujillo

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2003

    Pure Gold. Amazing. Witty....

    A pure delight to read, Amsterdam is a sardonic romp with an undertow of irony at every turn of the page. Mr. McEwan's books always amaze, but this is superbly entertaining with it's humor and pathos all wrapped together to give us great wit along with a pinch of the dark side of human nature. I keep waiting for Hollywood to make films of Mr. McEwan's wondrous literary achievements because I believe his books would transfer well to the screen with a sensitive director of equal caliber. The world is a better and more empathic place with such keen observances as seen in Amsterdam, Atonement, Black Dogs, Enduring Love, The Cement Garden and others by this superb author. Tell all your friends to read just one book by Mr. McEwan and they will soon be delighted at his unique literary talents and reading everything by this author. Bravo once again. Kathryn Forrester, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Virginia

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2002

    Almost Had To Tip My Hat

    But the ending was so damn awful, which of course surprised me because the prose style of Mr. McEwan is indeed sterling. I also wanted the storyline to go deeper into the character of Molly, since I felt it was she who had any real character. That she died horribly and abandoned by both her ego maniac friends was evident from the beginning. That there would be a morbid, senseless ending was not at all evident and lacked the proper build up. Never screw a politician was the only moral I could find in this what could have been a great novel. Though I do admit that it is excellently written, I would have liked to read a bit more dialogue as the book is rather sketchy in several places. More scenes from the life of Molly would also have been a delight to read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Amsterdam is a masterfully crafted novel about morality, integri

    Amsterdam is a masterfully crafted novel about morality, integrity, and egoism. The story revolves around our two protagonists, close friends Clive and Vernon, after the death of Molly, who was once the lover of each. We follow as Vernon, editor of a newspaper, tries to convince himself that his decision to run a smear piece against a politician is an ethical, and not personal, one; and as Clive, a composer under a deadline, makes a morally repugnant decision in the name of his artistic process. As the novel moves forward each man, perhaps not wanting to judge themselves, begins to judge the other. Self-loathing turned outward. The one problem I have with this novel is that I'm not sure I really buy the process by which each man comes to their final decision concerning the other (I realize that this is a very vague sentence, but I'm trying to avoid spoilers). But that's not really a deal breaker for me. McEwan's prose is so powerful, his story so beautifully woven, that I can forgive a little implausibility.

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  • Posted January 26, 2013

    VERY Good Book!

    Witty, subtle and very well written.

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  • Posted January 11, 2013

    Not his best

    This rather short novel has some good descriptive moments. I thought he did a great job of describing how a composer might approach his work, (though I'm not a composer and have no idea how accurate it is!) He also well described the tug and pull of an editor to cater to our basest instincts and try and increase reader or viewership, while also being a journalist. However, overall I found the characters not developed enough for the final chapter to be believable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Boring

    It was a waste of time. Very boring and a lot of technical details on music. Not worth time and money.

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    Great compact novel

    I read Amsterdam ten years ago shortly after it won the Booker prize. It still sits on my bookshelf reserved for favorites. It is filled with purple post-its marking favorite paragraphs.
    Recently bought another copy to take to my sister-il-law in Mexico who likes to read novels to improve her English.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    extremely boring, full of boring classical music theory,

    boring

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2008

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    Posted August 18, 2009

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    Posted March 24, 2011

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    Posted May 4, 2011

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    Posted February 20, 2011

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    Posted December 24, 2011

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    Posted October 5, 2012

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    Posted March 16, 2010

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