Neurosurgeon Henry Perowne enjoys life immensely and considers himself fortunate to love the woman he's married to. As he makes his way through an immense London crowd of Iraq protestors, he has a minor automobile accident. His trained eye immediately senses something neurologically wrong with Baxter, the other driver. So when the confrontational Baxter visits the Perowne home later that evening and events take a tragic turn, it is Henry who must employ his skills to save Baxter.
McEwan has been hailed as "one of the most gifted literary storytellers alive" by The New Republic, and Saturday is further proof of that claim.
Listen to an interview with Ian McEwan on Charlie Rose.
©2005 Ian McEwan; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
"Dazzling." (The New York Times)
"A wise and poignant portrait of the way we live now." (Publishers Weekly)
"McEwan is as provocative, transporting, and brilliant as ever as he considers both our vulnerability and our strength, particularly our ability to create sanctuary in a violent world." (Booklist)
Though I'm not male, not a neurosurgeon, not British, not wealthy.....I felt a real kinship with Henry P. The impact of 9/11 and his assessment of the general condition of the world provides a dark backdrop to what action there is. This is a literary book in which I sort immersed myself; you can't be in a hurry for the next thing to happen.
The prose simple and approachable while simultaneously beautiful and elegant. This isn't a 'car chase with a big twist' - book.
The way Saturday comes across is 'matter of fact-ly' benevolent and non-judgmental. This perspective was entirely refreshing to me. I'd like the McEwan to write a day of my life - he seem like he's be able to find the kind of time to explore and examine a life that we may not be able to find for ourselves. It really is quite an amazing, luxurious point of view I simply loved.
It does have a very feminine sensibility. I can't really put my finger on it, but the tone of the whole book is very soft and feminine. It is a departure for me - when I think about it the other books I love, they tend to be very masculine and unforgiving. That being said, I would still include it among my favorite books - easily making into my Top Ten list.
You have to like a meditative, introspective literary narrator but this book is eloquent, with many perfect moments to it. True, the reader's attempt at women's voices is pretty bad, but I forgave that because I was so caught up in the book.
...a better narrator. She is at least more articulate and and has a much better trained falsetto! The novel however is shere genius and I think that fact is missed by the other commentators here because of the insipid mulings of the narrrator. This novel is clever, poignant and sinks deeply into the post-modern angst where genuine love in a family can still exist. The humor is delightful. I have read few scenes with a more contained wit than when Daisy reads "her" poem to Baxter- the bad guy but also the sick guy. And with genuine human compassion in the midst of thier own crisis Henry sees beyond the immediate danger into the uncontrollable suffering of Baxter's source of pain and crisis. Then with a deft mixing of this carefully crafted matrix McEwen draws the story line and the lives of these real people into a sharp focus about where we as a society are today both out there in the crowd and in the privacy of our homes and loved ones.
An amazing adventure traveling with the mind of a person. Twists and turns in a life is brilliantly portrayed in just one twenty-four hour period.
The narrator brought each character to life. As usual, Mr. McEwan gets into extreme details at times , but this style always brings realism of the story to me. He questions values, ethics, human behaviors and subtly shows the consequences when we are off track!
McEwan is one of my favorite writers, but this one did not catch me. The story revolves around a neurosurgeon who wakes up on his day off, only to see a plane coming in over the Thames, apparently on fire. It is a day filled with events and, at the end, a new respect for and understanding of his family, particularly his two young adult children and his father-in-law.
It gets better towards the end, as he comes to a new understanding of poetry and its importance to his daughter, and music, for his son.
In addition, there was an ethically jarring situation ....
[SPOILER] where the narrator actually goes in and offers to operate on a man who had attacked him and who was injured because the narrator and his son had thrown him down the stairs, causing a head injury. It might be justified because supposedly he was the best person to take care of the man, but even this was not totally clear. At the very least, he should have told the other members of the team. Also, it would be a nightmare for the prosecutors to deal with this situation. When a story conflicts with reality, it takes one out of the world of the story. [END OF SPOILER]
There are, of course, the inevitable comparisons with Joyce's Ulysses, but the comparison does not hold up well. There is definitely less excitement than in the TV show "24", though there are fewer cheap thrills also.
The subject involves reactions to 9/11 and our perceptions on this evolve as time goes on. The novel is inevitably somewhat limited by the perspective of the time in which it as written.
Perhaps my problem is that I work in the medical field and so a lot of the medical description, while realistic, was boring to me. Maybe this is interesting to those outside the medical field who get to see some of the inside, but to me, it was too much like a day at work.
There is honesty in this writing but, unfortunately, the subject matter was less interesting than his other novels.
After listening to 'Solar' (my first Audible book) and being completely 'rapt', I found 'Saturday' not quite up to the high benchmark previously set. The scene between Henry and daughter Daisy was long, tedious and unconvincing in their dialogue, and the fact that Henry is allowed back to the hospital after a fairly heavy drinking session isn't up to McEwan's usual standards of getting the details just right. It also lacked the dry, wry,black humour in both the writing and the narration found in 'Solar' that I enjoyed so immensely. However all that said, 'Saturday' is still a well written and an enjoyable listening experience.
i have read (listened) to several hundred books on audible and i am always looking for a new author. i first started with his reading of on chesil beach and was blown away and immediatly downloaded saturday, which was just extraordinary. how fortunate we are to have someone of his talent. he's in a class by himself.
This thoughtful book delves the inner thoughts of one man in a day in the post 9-11 world in London. Those who expect a thriller will be disappointed. Those who look for the author's trademark tight style and craftesmanlike prose, will be delighted, as I was.
The book convincingly addresses the meaning of life, equity, and integenerational relationships. This is NOT airplane reading ---indeed it starts off with a plane crash.
A great read though hyperbole (a charcter does an impossible number of surgeries in a day, etc) detracts a bit. It's thoughtful ruminating style colored with vague menace fit me perfectly.
My God what a waste of effort trying to get through this piece of useless boring dribble. I have never written a book review before because I have never been so moved to do so. If I could have rated this a "0" or even less I would have. I kept waiting and waitning and waiting for something to happen........... it never did - only the long drawn out thoughts of the main character, or long and boring descriptions of the landscape. Take my word for it - DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME ON THIS ONE when there are so many wonderful alternatives !!!
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