Ian McEwan: Amsterdam

(991 words)

Amsterdam (1998), though it won the Booker Prize, is undoubtedly one of McEwan's lesser novels. The book has been called a fable, a psychological thriller, and a morality tale, but it only begins to cohere when it is seen as McEwan's first sustained foray into comedy. Divided into five sections, or acts, it has the rhythm of a play and the feel of a filmscript in the making. The novel takes its epigraph from Auden's “The Crossroads”: “The friends who met here and embraced are gone, Each to his own mistake”. The meeting this alludes to is that between four men at the funeral of Molly Lane, who was died after a long illness: the composer Clive Linley, the newspaper editor Vernon Halliday, the Foreign Secretary Julian …

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Citation:
Childs, Peter. "Amsterdam". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6716, accessed 24 April 2014.]