Saturday, March 9, 2013

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

Synopsis:  This is an account of two men, former friends, brought together by a funeral. They each make a horrific moral decision in the ensuing weeks, yet defend their choices while condemning the other.  The lead each other to Amersterdam where they've each paid to have the other euthanized, resulting in a "mutual murder".

Analysis: I didn't like either of the characters, and it wasn't until the end of the book I realized the author intended his readers to despise them - that for all their supposed bohemian-like free-thinking, they were selfish, immoral, and incredibly self-righteous. Despite the despicable characters, I enjoyed this book due to McEwan's writing style and dream-like plot development.

Words I Learned: 
acanthus = a plant with fern-like leaves, often decorating the top of Corinthian pillars
centripetal = directed or moving toward a center or axis
xenophobe = one unduly afraid or contemptuous of strangers or foreigners
punitive = inflicting or designed to inflict damages
scurrilous = vulgar, abusive
elegy = a mournful poem, especially one lamenting a\the dead
exculpate = to clear of blame
bathos = a ludicrously abrupt transition from an elevated to commonplace style

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