Monday, September 18, 2017

Done: "Amsterdam" by Ian McEwan.

Done: Amsterdam by Ian McEwan, 1998, 9780385494236.

This won 1998 Man Booker Prize? What the hell? The "leading literary award in the English speaking world" went to this novel? I'm definitely missing something.

I had not read any McEwan books since I was in grad school and saw a derogatory reference about McEwan in the Times Literary Supplement. I figured, "Heck, I'm checking that guy out!" I then read two of his books and enjoyed them. This is 193 pages of "Let's work the thesaurus and write as thick as possible." There is some black humor here - I think - about two longtime friends in their late 40s who having a falling out and arrange for each other to be killed by some sketchy euthanasia specialists in Amsterdam.

Well, OK. The story could be kinda interesting when discussing UK politics and the press but I still had to force myself to finish what felt like an exercise in navel gazing. Naval gazing I am okay with, that could be interesting. But, endless fixation on your own nonsense is nonsense.

Maybe the whole thing went over my head. Maybe McEwan wrote a parody. I readily admit to taking some things too literally. It's not like sarcasm and caricature are always easy for me to suss out. I'm not going to bother reading any reviews or the Man Booker write-up to see what people say.

1. One good thing about the novel is it reminds me of a Len Price 3 song.

2. It also reminds me of a song by Beautiful South.

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