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Saturday [Paperback]

Ian Mcewan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Taking us through one day of Henry Perowne's life must, in less than 300 pages, necessarily result in an "action packed" story. Opening with Henry's discovery of a fiery jet crossing the sky in the early hours, we follow his busy day of surgery, auto smash, family relations and musings on his life. McEwan's story is intense. It could be no other way, given the complexity of Henry's life. The author, however, keeps tight control over the narrative relieving the reader of "interpreting" events. This is far from "escapist" fiction, and the reader is kept attentive to meanings and values. McEwan contrives nothing and the reader will have few questions or worries about plausibility. A brilliant work about real people.

A serious professional, Henry's "relaxation" is an intense squash game with his anesthetist. He's approaching the big "five-oh", time when any reflective man will look back on his achievements and disappointments. Henry seems to have few of the latter. His daughter is a poet about to be published. Naturally, with her living in Paris, he worries about her private life. Laced with erotica, her poetry seems to impart much. Perhaps more than Henry wants to hear. Having a daughter is an effective way to age a man. Daisy's intelligent and deeply committed. On this Saturday, she's committed to blocking the Bush-Blair crusade in Iraq. A great march will take place, and Daisy expects her father to participate. His demurral shocks her and McEwan provides a charged confrontation - the "generation gap" is still with us.

Whatever Henry might have wished about attending the march is circumvented by a light road accident. A car brushes his, and he faces a trio of London street toughs. Their leader, "Baxter", is a complex character. His opening line to Henry is priceless.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Familiar ground.. April 8 2005
By A Customer
I have been a fan of Ian MacEwan since his first short story collections, First Love Last Rites and In Between the Sheets. After the excellent Atonement, which had some fun at the expense of modern writers who research everything to the nth degree and then regurgitate what they've learnt, regardless of relevance to the book, MacEwan falls into the same trap by swotting up on neurosurgery and then feeling compelled to let the reader know everything he has studied on the subject.
"Saturday Night" seems to be a repeat of the "Enduring Love" story, only less compelling. Both books feature an accident throwing characters, who otherwise would not meet, together and then exploring the unpleasant consequences which follow the chance encounter. Both also have a rational scientist type middle-aged man as the main character, confronted with emotions and situations outside the comfortably rational world of science. Both feature an irrational protagonist. Both central characters end up resolving the confrontation by realizing that rational science cannot provide a solution for everything.
While the book is extremely well written, MacEwan has also fallen into the trap of many contemporary authors (see Iain Banks) of trying to appear hip by mentioning current music etc - here we have references to Steve Earle's El Corazon, a girl sustaining a skull fracture falling out of a tree while watching Radiohead.
This is not his best book by any stretch, but compared to most modern fiction it is still pretty good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lot more than just 24 hours, this one is great March 30 2005
SATURDAY is a remarkable novel. It grips you in its symbolism, and I did enjoy it as much as ATONEMENT. It gives us a story of great love, happiness and the misery that can be interjected into our lives. What we come to expect as just another day turns into an event that is quite unexpected with reverberating consequences. This novel follows 24 hours in the life of neurosurgeon Dr. Henry Perowne, as he wakes up very early one Saturday morning, not long after 9/11. Henry is a happily married family man, and we follow him along in his day as he plays squash with a physician friend, visits his elderly mother who is suffering from dementia, and gets involved in an incident of road rage which will come back to haunt him before the end of the day. I'll leave it there, for you need to read this wonderful book to find out what happens. Suffice it to say that SATURDAY "moves" along at a faster clip than ATONEMENT, but is every bit as good. Would also recommend the highly popular BARK OF THE DOGWOOD for another great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new novel! March 1 2005
From the author of Atonement, comes this great new read. Saturday is filled with drama (more so than Atonement) but the writing is still first rate. With its memorable characters and first-rate pacing and storytelling, McEwan has given the world yet another great novel. If you enjoyed books such as McCrae's "The Children's Corner" or Seabold's "Lovely Bones" with their excellent pacing and style, the "Saturday" is a book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unlikely and unlikeable March 19 2005
Although well written, I found it hard to keep going with this book. There are numerous long descriptive sections (for example, pages and pages were taken up in describing a squash game) in which I lost interest. The high level of introspection was somewhat unconvincing. And the characters, apart from Baxter and Grammaticus, were dull and complacent. I found Perowne's children particularly unlikely and unlikeable.
I was interested to read that the central character, Perowne, preferred William James to his "fussy brother" Henry, because the latter would "run round a thing a dozen different ways than call it by its name". This was much the way I found this book. Good editing could perhaps reduce it to a short story of some merit, but as a full length novel, it is weak.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars saturday
I did not like this man or his family..I got to the end by skipping pages & because I paid for it! He blamed himself for the accident? He hurt Baxters feelings? Grow a pair doc. Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2012 by zoda
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible look into the post 9/11 psyche
Saturday, Ian McEwan's single-day probe into the psyche of Henry Perowne, a London neurosurgeon, is a brilliant work which explores the neurosis and fears of the post-9/11 era. Read more
Published on April 7 2010 by Garp
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring. Upper middle class British dribble.
One of those tedious "I can describe every detail" books with little or no basis in any sense of purpose or meaningful reality. Don't waste your time or money. Read more
Published on March 26 2010 by S. Penn
3.0 out of 5 stars Still love McEwan
Although this is not one of his best, this still was a classic engrossing Ian McEwan read.
Published on Nov. 19 2007 by Leah MacFarlane
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, Memorable and Beyond Category
There are few novelists today who can write transformative fiction. McEwan is one of them.
This is a story well suited for its middle aged readership, exploring the joys and... Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2007 by Road King
3.0 out of 5 stars ok story
good details about medical aspects but the plot really isn't page turning
i somehow finished the book
i have not looked for another book by the author yet and don't think... Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2007 by sam
5.0 out of 5 stars Bowled over.
Having been disappointed by Atonement, I expected little from this book. I was surprised to find myself enthralled from the first word. Read more
Published on July 16 2007 by Samantha
4.0 out of 5 stars Not my usual cup-o-tea
SATURDAY is not something I would normally pick up. Being more prone to a bestseller, Oprah pick, or cult classic (you know the ones I'm talking about----DA VINCI by Brown,... Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2006 by Knotty Phelps
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking
This is a very interesting novel, compelling at times, that reminds us of the power each day of our lives can bring. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2006 by Bea Zolis
1.0 out of 5 stars Could not finish this book
I very rarely abandon a book without finishing but I just could not get into this book. I did not care about the characters and found the story to be completely pointless. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2006 by JBB
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