The reviewers of the Booker Prize winning novel, Amsterdam, were
generally of the opinion, expressed by Daphne Merkin, that its author,
Ian McEwan, fully deserved the prestigious prize, but that this was
one of those special cases in which ‘the right writer is tapped for the
wrong book’, because it was his preceding novel, Enduring Love, that
was ‘probably his best novel to date’.1,2 Other reviewers were more
dismissive of Amsterdam; Richard Eder considered the ‘satire …
flimsy’ and ‘set up … with a few pains too few’, while Nicholas
Lezard felt that the euthanasia episode, which ‘gives the novella its
title … is a little corny but is a way of telling us not to take it too seriously’.
3 Because of this ‘smart, synthetic ending’ that makes the two
main characters ‘seem as cartoonish as they had hitherto been true’,
Brooke Allen concluded that ‘the book is flawed, perhaps fatally so’.4
Nor was David Malcolm, arguably the world’s foremost expert on
McEwan, particularly happy with the euthanasia ending.