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)
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.
Oh my goodness - I found this book excruciating to listen to. I managed to endure about 4 hours of part one, and then simply could not continue.
I really enjoyed the beginning, thinking that here was a author who was really skilled at colorful descriptive writing. Soon, however, it became apparent, that this book has the feel of an assignment given to an english major. The assignment would have been, "write a novel with minimal plot, but maximal descriptive elements. Every step, breath, character, bird, car, twig, even a fight, are detailed in minute detail, using laborious, excessive language.
This author is obviously trying to impress readers with his mastery of the English Language, which is unquestionably good, but makes for a terrible novel.
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.
For a book that begins with a plane crash, this is a slow and uneventful listen. I have to admit that I didn't finish it. I found myself thinking about other things while the narrator read aloud the ponderous inner thoughts of the uninteresting main character.
I was a big fan of McEwen's previous book, "Atonement". This book seems to lack the intriguing characters and precisely crafted prose of Atonement.
Again I only listened to not even half the book so take my review for what it is worth having not finished it.
I thought it was me. But after reading all these reviews I realize my taste in books is still intact. I'm giving this book a low rating based on about an hour and a half of listening to its incredible nothingness. Thanks to all for saving me some valuable time.
McEwan relies more heavily on character development than plot in this tale of a day's events, but what great character development it is. The reader hits a great tone. Thoroughly enjoyable.
This book talks about life moving along smoothly. Career and family is at their highest potential. Looking for the next frontier to explore without seeing how life has blessed him already. Lacks ability to communicate love and appreciation to family.
When life takes a trip down a road that takes away your breath and stops your heart from beating in the blink of an eye. Life goes through a reevaluation that makes you stop in your direction you we're traveling in.
This is now the time that the decision that is made contains life and death with every thought and action made.
Great Read! Enjoy
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.
Having read through the reviews, I was a little worried about those who said that this book was slow. I often listen when I am running, and I like novels to keep moving along. Theoretically, I suppose you could say that this book is slow, but the carefully building action is so carefully set up, the book is as dramatic as most I have read (or listened) to. Terrorism lurks in the background, allowing for reflection on our post-9/11 world, but really I think this book is a meditation on the nature of life itself and our place as parents and children. McEwan is such a careful writer; each word and phrase is staked out so as to later lead you into a new insight. I can't do justice to this book in my review; just buy it. If you enjoy other McEwan books and you want something that will make your head full of rich reflections on life while sometimes also hanging on the edge of your seat for the next piece of action, this is the book for you. Wonderful narration, too.
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