Tag Archives: Ian McEwan

Amsterdam

Thoughts amsterdambyim by Ian McEwan, Anchor 1999 (orig 1998), 193 pages

My “Pick” Review on Litsy offered THREE points:

  1. I love how Ian McEwan strings words together. I fall into his books like fluffy pillows and fleece blankets by a fire.
  2. The women in this book  are minor characters yet they seem to hold all the power. (I still need to think about this. Still thinking… a few days later.)
  3. The descriptions of the music were captivating.

What the Washington Post said:

A sharp contemporary morality tale, cleverly disguised as a comic novel, Amsterdam is “as sheerly enjoyable a book as one is likely to pick up this year.”

What’s it ABOUTWARNING! I am going to tell a lot more about the plot than I usually do. I always feel like I’m spoilering so read on at your own risk. Two friends, ex-lovers of an extraordinary woman named Molly, meet up at her funeral. Clive is a composer who is not ‘attached’ and Vernon is a newspaper editor; they eventually make a pact that in the event IF one ever becomes seriously ill and incapacitated, the other agrees to assist in facilitating a dignified end-of-life situation, something they don’t believe their friend Molly was accorded. Clive is busy and stressed with writing a grand symphony for the year 2000 and Vernon is desperately trying to save his newspaper – circulation is falling and they need a scoop. Well, Clive arrives at a cross-roads literally while hiking to free his mind up for inspiration and Vernon is given his juicy tabloid fodder opportunity — photos of a high-level politician who was also a lover of Molly. HOWEVER, things happen, plots are plotted, disagreements are both blown out of proportion or thoughtlessly disregarded depending on the viewpoint and it all becomes a major clusterfuck for almost everyone involved.

What’s good?  No one could complain that nothing happens in this book. For a slim book, it has a ton of pivotal bit characters and interesting events. I love IMcE’s writing. I just will follow wherever his sentences lead me.

What’s NOT so good: Well, it was almost too neatly wrapped up and not really all that convincing even as I keep contemplating what happened! How could all these momentous things happen and yet not one really gets the importance? And all the conniving and clever and circumstantial happenings seem oh so convenient. Seriously, some of these steps could have slipped this way or that and a whole ‘nother story would have had to have been chased down. I might need to go back and reread – I don’t think I recall the WHYs. Why did Clive decide to ___ and also Vernon decide to carry out ____?! Were they that cruel? Yep, almost a bit TOO convenient. I am starting not to buy it as I keep going over and over it…

And then the cover art of Brona‘s copy has me thinking about something else all over again!

I loved the sidestepping move by Rose Garmony. YOWZA, was she interesting.

So, even if a bit bumpy and I question the plot, I enjoyed every minute of it. Let’s write some fanfiction to further delve into Molly and Rose, could we?

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie (the pastry) mentioned but PIE CHARTS were found. I might suggest an almond torte as a pie alternative here. Almond torte sounds Dutch, no?fourpie

BIG thank you to JoAnn and Athira for allowing me to crash their readalong #damalong.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Saturday

Thoughts  Saturday by Ian McEwan, Anchor Books 2005, 291 pages

FOR:  Just another one for the calendar category of BethFishReads’ What’s In a Name 5 Challenge?  [I’m still searching for the fits-in-a-pocket category, just sayin’.]

BECAUSE:  I have some kind of crush on Ian McEwan. Because I like books that are set entirely within a 24 hours period. Because I heard somewhere that McEwan wrote this as his take on Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and I loved that book. But do know —  I did not like Mrs. Dalloway upon my first reading. I adored it on my second reading. It sold me on the value of re-reading. I used to never re-read books. I give a ton of credit to a few of you bloggers who love to re-read and have expressed your dismay that I never did. So… Thank you. I hope you know who you are. (ok, I’ll send you a poke/link/tweet to make sure!)

CREDIT DUE:  to FizzyJill. FizzyJill was not so enamored by this book and apparentlly not by all that is IMcE. I do not judge her nor fault her but only thank her for buying this book, reading it, posting on it, and then sending it on to me because I begged her to. She even included $5 and change* to thank me for taking it off her hands!  Crazy chick. *SMILES*

POSSIBLY WORTHY OF A REREAD?  Yes.

FIRST SENTENCE:  “Some hours before dawn Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, wakes to find himself already in motion, pushing back the covers from a sitting position, and then rising to his feet.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Henry wakes early on a day that is officially a day off but  is full of stuff that has to be done because his daughter and father-in-law are flying into town.

We are privileged to be IN HIS HEAD with almost every thought. How much he loves his wife, reminiscing of how they met, why he chose neurology, how much he enjoys his work. We learn how conflicted he is about politics; what to think about the world and terrorism and poverty vs. wealth. He visits his mother who is far gone in terms of old age senility. We participate in a squash game and feel the competitiveness and loathing of what aging does to our bodies in term of keeping up to what we want to do, what we used to do. He thinks about his kids and reflects on his childhood. Are we smarter in ‘middle-age’? Do we settle for life as we know it, lose our ambition or ability to dream, or do we end up living lives within the constructs of the possible futures of our children? Weighed against what our parents were able to accomplish? Are our entire lives a question? Is the answer eternally elusive because the parameters keep changing.

I should mention that he has a minor crash in his Mercedes and thus meets some loathsome characters. He cooks dinner but it gets interrupted. I would have loved his fish stew and crusty bread and red wine.

Feel free to read Softdrink’s review and wonder if I’m saying anything different. Except I LOVED IT. I knew I would love it and I relish the questioning quizzing of how I would know I would love it and yet not be disappointed by over-expecting? Life is just odd. Play along.

I’m still in love with IMcE.

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

WHY NOT FIVE?  I rolled my eyes just a few times with the predictableness of the story. It’s not what happens; it’s how McEwan describes what happens.

RECOMMENDED TO:  Those who love London and recognize streets and landmarks. I’ve never been but it was heavy on the London setting. Those who love being in a character’s head. Those who love books set in a single day. Those who have a crush on Ian McEwan.

* Softdrink didn’t really send me any money. But she offered! But then realized I am truly a bit insane with my IMcE crush so paying me to take this book off of her hands was entirely unnecessary.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

On Chesil Beach

[This post was updated on July 27, 2008, to suggest an alternative review.  or rather, a proper  review!  Go see Lightheaded’s post on her thoughts about this book…]

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 I was inspired to read On Chesil Beach for more than a few reasons. The first is the many, many great reviews I’ve read here in blogland and second, it fit the page length to be included in the Novella Challenge. Third? I’m in love with Ian McEwan.

I am not, however, inspired to review this. I am needing to get my butt on the treadmill and walk for more than a few miles. I’m still in my pjs! I have an 11 am appointment, my book is calling to me, and it is SOOOOO nice outside! I love sunny mornings; the birds are singing, chirping, and yet there is an expectant quiet to the air. I love Morning-Sensations. I just want to sit and soak in it. and drink my coffee. and not yet get dressed.   I also warn you that my blogging might decrease because I want to be outside!  Planting flowers…

Today, SOON.   I must WALK some miles. I have signed up to do 20 miles the first weekend in May for a Feed-the-Hungry Fundraiser and my 40 year old body is aching just thinking about that day after. Plus, my dog might like a walk, too. So – NOW HEY! that’s a terrific idea! I could get dressed and walk down Highland St south and have done a 4 mile loop! The O-Pup would be thrilled, he would.

I rate On Chesil Beach FOUR STARS.

    

For an EXCELLENT review, please click on this link:  http://booksidoneread.blogspot.com/2008/04/on-chesil-beach-ian-mcewan.html