Saturday. Ian McEwan

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Saturday gets  a self confessed McEwan addict rating of

4 smiles.   ratings explained

 Highly recommended for people who like Ian McEwan stories where  everday life is intertwined with the exceptional in a suspense drama,   or is it?   For a well thought out and written analysis read this  review by Mark Lawson in the Gaurdian.   Review excerpts:

  • Saturday catalogues the local only in order to focus on the global
  • By recording with such loving care the elements of one rich Englishman’s life, Saturday explores the question of to what extent it is possible to insulate yourself against the world’s concerns
  • One of the most oblique but also most serious contributions to the post-9/11, post-Iraq war literature, it succeeds in ridiculing on every page the view of its hero that fiction is useless to the modern world.
  • The most recurrent theme in McEwan’s 10 novels is the sudden ambush of the safe and smug.

We follow the protoganist,   a neuro-surgeon Henry Perowne, through 24 hours set in London, 2003, on the day of a major Anti-war (with Iraq) rally.   Through his recollections we succinctly cover the last 20  years  of significant family events as he prepares for a special evening.   Through conversations,   news broadcasts and the anti-war rally we learn about different perspectives towards Britians engagement in the Iraq war.   His job centres on diagnosing complex human physical disorders,   then fixing them,  saving lives.   Analogous to governments diagnosing world problems and attempting to fix them,   saving lives.    McEwan’s writing style is captivating.   In this single sentence he conveys so much about the   old people in a ‘home’:

They stir,   or seem to sway as he enters, as if gently buffeted by the air the door displaces

I read the first half of the book sporadically,  reverently, on a Saturday.     The first half focuses on detailed,   relevant,  scene setting with events.   The home,   the car,   the family,   the health activities,   the job,   the friends,   the colleagues, the rally, the news, the values.   The second half of the book was so gripping I couldn’t bear to put it down,   my evening stretched into the early hours of the morning.          


Ian McEwan addict confesses
Saturday. Ian McEwan
rate wendys scribble

one wonderful muse on “Saturday. Ian McEwan”

  1. Rob writes:

    Started reading this book last week after having bought it on holiday in the summer. Happened to be very timely with the anniversary of 9/11.

    Am still going through the early part of the book but have been very moved already as stories of aging family man are close to home. Last book I finished was the John Peel bio. Martin Amis’s substantial article on terrorism in last week’s Observer also brings together 9/11 related events and family life. Thanks for not containing spoilers in your write-up as I still have 3/4 of the book to go.

    The blues guitar playing part is an amusing sub-plot for me as coincidentally old strummers like Roy Buchanan, Peter Green, Clapton et al have been on heavy rotation on the iPod recently.

    PS –
    This is my first comment on the Wendy House ver. 2. If this hadn’t been my annus horribilis, with the computer dying ugly deaths (twice – still dead), looming eviction and relocation and sundry unspeakably grim proceedings, I would have probably commented on at least the following subjects:

    1) World Cup (1) – spotted your deliberate mistake of naming England’s 2nd goal scorer against Sweden Garrison.
    2) World Cup (2) – Thought of Wendy and one of my previous post after watching sweaty footballers kissing each other in admirable comradeship after Italy vs Czech Republic, among the Italian players as well as Czech ones who played in Italian clubs.
    3) Morrisey – lost interest in the Mozzer after lyrics like “everyday is like sunday” and “boy afraid” ceased to mean much to me, and my life is more like “everyday is like monday” and “boy too old and tired to be particularly interested”. Have however re-investigated The Smiths recently mostly due to Johnny Marr – have even indulged in an electric 12-string to jangle properly.
    4) Short-hair on girls– yummy or something equally complimentary.
    5) On the Road – something uninteresting and pseud about Kerouac probably.

    Just in case you wanted to know…



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