Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1998 Booker Prize Winner

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

4

       
 

Publisher: Jonathan Cape

Length: 192 pages

About: Old friends make a pact

Style: 3rd person

Where: England 

When: 1990s

 

Publisher’s synopsis:

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 concerned.

 

Extract:

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.

 

Reviews:

Good:

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.[36] 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 memoir.

 

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<1997> -  <1999>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ratings

Adventure

 6

Filmability

 6

Historical

 6

Humorous

 5

Intellectuality

 6

Life-changing

 6

Page turner

 5

Readability

 8

Romance

 4

 

Age guide: 12

 

 

Novels by same author:

 

 

 

 

Adaptations:

None to date

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© PWF.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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