Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Length: 192 pages
About: Old friends make a pact
Style: 3rd person
Gorgeous, feisty Molly Lane had many lovers, among them Clive Linley, Britain’s most famous composer, Vernon Halliday, editor of a respected broadsheet, and Julian Garmony, Foreign Secretary and
tipped to be the next prime minister. When Clive and Vernon meet to pay their last respects to Molly at her funeral, they make a pact that will have unforeseen and profound consequences for everyone
The friends of Molly who made up the funeral gathering would have preferred not to be at a crematorium, but George had made it clear there was to be no memorial service. He didn't want to hear
these three former lovers publicly comparing notes from the pulpits of St. Martin's or St. James's, or exchanging glances while he made his own speech. As Clive and Vernon approached they heard the
familiar gabble of a cocktail party. No champagne trays, no restaurant walls to throw back the sound, but otherwise one might have been at one more gallery opening, one more media launch. So many
faces Clive had never seen by daylight, and looking terrible, like cadavers jerked upright to welcome the newly dead. Invigorated by this jolt of misanthropy, he moved sleekly through the din,
ignored his name when it was called, withdrew his elbow when it was plucked, and kept on going toward where George stood talking to two women and a shriveled old fellow with a fedora and cane.
For all its brevity, this novel is so well done that it has the feel of a much larger work." -
David Profumo, Daily Telegraph
Not so good:
McEwan is left with only his fine eye for detail and the familiar staccato style that holds the attention but fails to move. Amsterdam is certainly readable, but readability may be
precisely McEwan's great failing."
Stuart Burrows, New Statesman
About the author
Ian McEwan was born in Aldershot in 1948 and lives in Oxford. His father was a working class Scotsman who had worked his way up through the army to the rank of major.
He spent much of his childhood in East Asia (including Singapore), Germany and North Africa (including Libya), where his father was posted. His family returned to England when he was twelve. He
was educated at Woolverstone Hall School; the University of Sussex, receiving his degree in English literature in 1970; and the University of East Anglia, where he was one of the first graduates of
Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson's pioneering creative writing course.
He has been married twice. His 13-year marriage to spiritual healer and therapist Penny Allen ended in 1995 and was followed by a bitter custody battle over their two sons. His second wife,
Annalena McAfee, was formerly the editor of The Guardian's Review section.
In 2002, McEwan discovered that he had a brother who had been given up for adoption during World War II; the story became public in 2007. The brother, a bricklayer named David Sharp, was born six
years earlier than McEwan, when his mother was married to a different man. Sharp has the same parents as McEwan but was born from an affair between them that occurred before their marriage. After her
first husband was killed in combat, McEwan's mother married her lover, and Ian was born a few years later. The brothers are in regular contact, and McEwan has written a foreword to Sharp's