Amsterdam, Ian McEwan (1998)

London kills me. It makes sense that Woody Allen’s been making his movies over there lately. Apparently the kind of rich, pseudo-cultural, pseudo-progressive upper west side drawing room comedy he loves still has some currency over there. Here, it seems not just absurdly anachronistic and irrelevant, but offensively so. There’s nothing at stake in this gleefully spiteful and preening little story, and furthermore no one to like, including the author. The grand moral issues the book pretends to engage are actually just manifestations of the stingy little emotional hangnails of its one-dimensional cleverish characters. I had to read a hundred pages of Tolstoy to get the taste of mildew and gin out of my mouth.