Posted: May 19, 2009 in Stories


Had a little free time, so I thought I’d read a good book. And since Ian McEwan’s Atonement is quite possibly the best novel I’ve ever read in my life, I thought I’d give him another read.

The problem with this thinking, of course, was that there was no way Amsterdam could measure up to Atonement. And it didn’t. But still, McEwan’s storytelling talent is a sure bet, and I wasn’t disappointed entirely.

Amsterdam is actually set in Britain and follows the stories of two old friends, a famous composer and a successful newspaper editor, both of whom made a secret pact with one another after the death of an old friend / former lover. After their secret pact, each of the main characters made a disastrous moral mistake independent of one another that led to a dramatic conclusion in… yes, you guessed it, Amsterdam.

One of my favorite things about reading a novel is the opportunity to escape into another world. But that wasn’t my need this go-around in my “need to read.” One of my other favorite things about novels is the way they make me think about life. For whatever reason, that was my missing element in Amsterdam. Not that it didn’t carry the capability of causing a little reflection; for whatever reason, it just didn’t click with me.

I went back to the library and checked out two more books, not knowing what they’ll do for me. I suspect Garrison Keillor’s Liberty will make me laugh out loud if nothing else, and John Grisham’s The Appeal will allow me to see if I remember anything from Civil Procedure. I’ll let you know if anything worthwhile emerges. Given today’s post, I’ll probably let you know if nothing worthwhile emerges, too.

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