- Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc (2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 000721829X
- ISBN-13: 978-0007218295
- ASIN: 1400076196
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 227 g
- Average Customer Review: 38 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,504,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Saturday Paperback – 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Crossley offers a smart, measured performance of McEwan's cerebral novel about an ominous day seen through the eyes of Henry Perowne, a reflective neurosurgeon whose comfortable life is shaken following a run-in with a street thug. Crossley's polished English accent is a fine accompaniment to a story that focuses on the people of privileged London, and while most of the novel consists of Perowne's narration, Crossley easily and subtly shifts into a handful of characters, including Perowne's wife, the jumpy goon Baxter and even a hawkish American anesthesiologist. But what truly suits Crossley's approach to the text is his cool, precise, almost distant tone. Perowne is a surgeon and, aside from his frequent ruminations and flights of thought, he is nothing in his actions if not cautious and calculating. In this way, events as far flung as a squash game and lovemaking are broken down in the churn of his mind and lead to conclusions not only about his own life but life in general. The plot has its moments of tension and suspense, but Crossley does an excellent job of capturing the book's real rewards: McEwan's intriguing examination of how we view ourselves, and how even the simplest events can snowball into complex moral dilemmas.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"Saturday revives W.H. Auden’s definition of great art as ‘clear thinking about mixed feelings.’”
–The Globe and Mail
“[McEwan’s] writing has been almost critically unimpeachable. . . . Of all the writers currently at work, McEwan stands with very few others as one who can . . . inspire . . . complexly formed feelings of deep admiration.”
–Books in Canada
“McEwan brilliantly conveys the process whereby a man’s competitive instincts go overboard and he becomes desperate to win a squash game or and argument.”
“Skilfully blends the joys of food, music and sport with the uncertainty of an age undergoing disturbing transition.”
"This is a gripping portrait of a man who suspects he’s heading downhill. And there are transcendent moments, like the brief, utterly heartbreaking sequence describing the encounter with his mother, as devastating as it is subtle. Fascinating.”
"Saturday is thoughtful, finely written, rich in detail and analysis, a portrait of a living mind.
–The Gazette (Montreal)
“[McEwan] is a towering figure in the world of letters. . . . One of the smartest authors at work today. ”
“This season’s most discussed novel. . . . McEwan again and again proves his virtuosity. . . . In McEwan’s hands . . . wars and politicians and terrorists mingle with private satisfactions . . . McEwan appropriates the subject of personal joy, brings it back into serious literature, and makes it, for the moment at least, his private literary property.”
“Mr. McEwan has not only produced one of the most powerful pieces of post-9/11 fiction yet published, but has also fulfilled that very primal mission of the novel: to show how we–a privileged few of us, anyway – live today.”
–The New York Times
"In Saturday he remains at the top of his game — assured, accomplished and ambitious... [Saturday] offers something transcendent, impossible to dissect."
—Lewis Jones, Telegraph
"operating at the height of his formidable powers...Artistically, morally and politically, he excels"
—Ruth Scurr, Times
"Where the literary careers of some of his contemporaries now look like gaudy wreckage, he has triumphantly developed into a writer of outstanding subtlety and substance. ..Written with superb exactness, complex, suspenseful, reflective and humane, this novel about an expert on the human brain by an expert on the human mind reinforces his status as the supreme novelist of his generation."
—Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
"It's the good writing and the truthful and convincing way of rendering consciousness that makes Ian McEwan's Saturday so engrossing, keeping me awake like a mystery thriller."
—Colm Toibin chose Saturday as one his books in A Little Night Reading, in The Sunday Times
"Refreshing and engrossing, Saturday has a pleasing intimacy... McEwan's superb novel amply demonstrates how good fiction, by dramatising unweildy and fraught ideas in a deeply personal narrative, can fashion the world into gobbets sometimes more digestible than factual reportage"
—James Urquhart, Independent
"His gift of observation, wonderfully precise, now comes thick and fast. There is nothing in this novel that feels forced. The author's mature attention illuminates equally everything it falls on....this [is a] profound and urgent novel."
—Tim Adams, Observer
"In Saturday he is at his best — thoughtful, eloquent, yet restrained. The novel has all the technical assurance of its predecessors, and suggests as well as a newly political sensibility and a seductive, Joycean attention to the textures of normality."
—Henry Hitchings, FT
"Saturday is a brilliant novel about post 9/11 Britain, about the fragility of middle-class liberal values and assumptions, and the escalating vulnerability of our small, democratic island. It is McEwan writing on absolute top form."
"An exemplary novel, engrossing and sustained. It is undoubtedly McEwan's best."
—Anita Brookner, Spectator
Praise for Atonement:
“Atonement is a deliriously great read, but more than that it is a great book.”
—Zsuszi Gartner, The Globe and Mail
“A book that shocks one into remembering just how high one’s literary standards should be… A tour-de-force by one of England’s best novelists.”
—Noah Richler, National Post
“A beautiful and majestic fictional panorama.”
—The New Yorker
“Atonement is a tremendous achievement, a rich demonstration of McEwan’s gifts as a storyteller.”
—The Vancouver Sun
From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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This wonderful book dares to explore this delicate space in our minds - to explore its mystery. It is a wondrous journey.
I love this book, and recommend it highly.
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. The author effectively summarises the thug's character in a single sentence. Obviously educated, Baxter suffers from a genetic neurological disease, Huntington's chorea. Spotting this immediately, Henry diagnoses the ailment, offering therapy. The exchange leads to a string of multi-level encounters between Henry and Baxter. Henry's values are challenged in many ways by Baxter, whose own values must shift as they interact. The balance is exquisite as Henry and Baxter strive to maneuver each other through a spectrum of the two men's shifting needs. McEwan maintains this equilibrium with adroit finesse. In the hands of a lesser writer, it would be merely a clash of wills or a formulaic "good versus evil" scenario. McEwan effectively avoids such simplistic insults to the reader, and we can only applaud him for his skills.
Although shunted to justifiably minor roles, the remainder of Henry's family orbit about him, plainly visible. Each shines with their own level of brilliance. Henry's father in law, John Grammaticus, is a poet, thus Daisy's mentor. Theo, a teen-aged son, is caught up in blues music. In most fiction this would lead to friction, given the contrasting worlds, but father and son evince only mutual respect. Henry's mother, suffers advanced dementia, residing in a home. The great luminary in Henry's family is his wife Rosalind. A lawyer, she has her own professional realm. Henry loves her ardently. In yet another break with formula, Henry is given no amorous distractions neither among his hospital colleagues nor elsewhere. All the romance centres on Rosalind, with neither erosion nor regret. It's to McEwan's credit that he avoids this stereotype trap.
Rather unuexpectedly for fiction, Charles Darwin's famous aphorism, "There is a grandeur to this view of life" appears. It's a key statement in this story. Henry's view of life is grand, and based on solid reasoning. His scientific background forces that approach, and leaves more emotional responses to issues beyond his ken. Daisy never comprehends why Henry won't protest the crusade, but his knowledge exceeds hers and his values run deeper. Should he explain his position in better detail? Would she have accepted his argument? Growing up is hard to do, but watching it happen can be worse. Henry's "view of life" reaches beyond Daisy's, reinforcing the distress by her incomprehension.
With the many aspects of life this book offers, presented with vivid clarity and stirring insights, McEwan may well have launched a new "wave" in fiction. The reality underlying the story and its characters may provide an example for others to follow. They will, however, have to learn to work. McEwan spent two years learning what a neurosurgeon does. How many novelists will undertake, or endure, such an apprenticeship? This could have been a work of journalism. Instead, it's a brilliant story for all to enjoy. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
"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.
I used to hate overly descriptive paragraphs when I was reading. And 'Saturday' is basically nothing BUT description. It takes place in one single day in the life of the main character. There's only small amounts of dialogue and action in comparison.
If I had read this book as little as five years ago, I think I would have put it down and never finished it. But now, I realize the beauty in the description. The intricate detail of every movement the main character made throughout his Saturday was fascinating. It helped also that this particular Saturday was an eventful one by any standard. But the agility and power with which McEwan wrote flowed from event to event seamlessly.
Because the time-frame is so small, it does drag in some places. But I often found myself stopping, and re-reading the passages that had my attention veering off. And when I did, I found that those passages were particularly meaningful.
Saturday is both thought provoking, and simple. Shocking, and mundane. But overall, it was an incredible read.
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