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Saturday by Ian McEwan
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Saturday (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Ian McEwan

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8,528201360 (3.68)211
Member:arukiyomi
Title:Saturday
Authors:Ian McEwan
Info:Anchor (2006), Edition: 4th, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Finished 2013, 1001 books, Fiction, Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

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Saturday by Ian McEwan (2005)

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» See also 211 mentions

English (178)  French (7)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Catalan (2)  Norwegian (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (201)
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
The whole plot takes place on one Saturday, and hence the title. The life story of the protagonist is revealed through triggers here and there. McEwan also dwelt long on his thoughts. However, he could not sustain the pace and it can get wearing at times. ( )
  siok | Aug 13, 2016 |
Neurosurgeon Henry Perowne has a rare treat - a Saturday off and a family dinner to look forward to later in the evening. But a seemingly meaningless event in the afternoon comes back to haunt him and his family with life-threatening ramifications.

With this book, McEwan presents an interesting concept in its style ... everything takes place on one day, which seems a little gimmicky but I was intrigued by the idea and thought McEwan could pull it off (I recalled that the bulk of Atonement took place over just a handful days, even though the entire timeframe of the book spanned many years.). Most of what takes place in Perowne's day is mundane ... He wakes up, watches the news, eats breakfast with son, plays a game of squash with a co-worker, visits his aged mother in a nursing home, picks up food to prepare for dinner, etc. In reading it, I was reminded of Mrs. Dalloway, another book in which it seems that much of what happens is inconsequential. But beneath the surface, McEwan touches on so many deeper concepts, including xenophobia, dementia, neuroscience, paternity, love, the power of art/music/literature, and so on and so on.

Understandably then, Saturday is also like Mrs. Dalloway in that everything is pretty much just the internal thoughts of the main character flitting from thing to thing, whether that's recalling how he first met his wife years ago or anticipating an upcoming visit from his daughter. The Iraq war is about to begin as the book takes place, so the fear of terrorism, concerns about the politics of the war, and etc. are always just bubbling beneath the surface. Much of this makes for a slow, contemplative read, but it does provide various tidbits of food for thought.

And then there's the character of Baxter who enters the page with a crackle, showing up in a scene charged with violence and fear only to be dispatched quickly. Or so it seems ... until he reappears again, with even more malice and deadly power. These parts of the book seem so out of place with the rest that it almost seems like the reader walked into the wrong set all of sudden. But it seems that was part of McEwan's point ... to show us the randomness of life, to let us know that the terror we fear may be closer to home than the nightly news lets on, to allow for an exploration of how ordinary people react in impossible situations, and so forth.

This is a difficult book to summarize easily and it's likely to haunt the reader for sometime afterward. But that's not to say it's a book for everyone. It is very slow for the majority of it (indeed, it sometimes gets too bogged down in the little details), but it also gets very uncomfortable in its sudden outbursts of threats and violence. I'm not sure that I would recommend this particular title as a person's first try with McEwan, but rather would suggest it for those already familiar with his works and therefore aware of what they might be getting into with Saturday.

On a side note, I listened to the audiobook version of this book as read by Steven Crossley. I thought this reading was just okay. Crossley wasn't a bad reader, but he didn't stand out an amazing one either. It probably didn't help that much of this book is muted, just focusing on Perowne's internal thoughts, so there's not a great deal of active voice reading to do. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Apr 23, 2016 |
Saturday Ian McEwan
★★★

We as readers spend Saturday 15th February 2003 following neurosurgeon Henry Perowne from his early awakening where he witnesses a crashing to plane to the early hours of the following morning where he returns home to his wife after having saved a mans life in the operating theatre.

McEwan combines real life events, the antiwar protests in London, with a fictional account of how Perowne and his family respond to world events and those closer to home.

As he focusses only on one day McEwan can provide us with a detailed look into Perowne himself and how he responds to events.

I liked watching Perowne with his elderly mother who is suffering with dementia, the descriptions of brain surgery, how Perowne bonds with his son over music and how he looks forward to and fears a reunion between his daughter and her maternal grandfather and also the central point of the book his confrontation with Baxter a man obviously suffering with a neurological issue. The downside of this is we are given a detailed description of a squash match where both players are ultra competitive and which goes on for several pages.

Overall I enjoyed this detailed look into Perowne's life but it is not McEwans best work in my opinion. ( )
1 vote BookWormM | Feb 6, 2016 |
One day. That's right. One day. Now imagine what can happen in one day! Ian McEwan is a master story teller and this was a very enjoyable book. ( )
  deldevries | Jan 31, 2016 |
I listened to this on audio, had to start it multiple times to get the story straight and figure out what was going on. An interesting idea going through a whole Saturday with this person, but I found the whole story kind of unbelievable and having a made-up quality. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
L’acuité du regard et le sens du détail dévastateur. La profondeur de la réflexion politique autant que philosophique.
added by miniwark | editTélérama, Michel Abescat (Oct 14, 2006)
 
Overall, however, Saturday has the feel of a neoliberal polemic gone badly wrong; if Tony Blair—who makes a fleeting personal appearance in the book, oozing insincerity—were to appoint a committee to produce a "novel for our time," the result would surely be something like this.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, John Banville (pay site) (May 26, 2005)
 
[T]he lambent, stream-of-consciousness narrative that Mr. McEwan uses so adroitly in these pages. In fact, "Saturday" reads like an up-to-the-moment, post-9/11 variation on Woolf's classic 1925 novel "Mrs. Dalloway."
 
We have learned to expect the worst from Ian McEwan. Since his debut collection of stories, First Love, Last Rites, his fiction has always dwelt at the heart of places we hope never to find ourselves in: the vacancies left in lives by the kidnapped child or the lost lover; the mined no-man's-land that follows extreme violence or sexual obsession. His subject has always been damage and the way the darkest events in a life will drain the rest of love. For McEwan, happiness has rarely gone unpunished.
 

» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McEwan, Ianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Verhoef, RienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilby, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
For instance? Well, for instance, what it means to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organised power. Subject to tremendous controls. Ina condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes. In a society that was no community and devalued the person. Owing to the multiplied power of numbers which made the self negligible. Which spent military billions against foreign enemies but would not pay for order at home. Which permitted savagery and barbarism in its own great cities. At the same time, the pressure of human millions who discovered what concerted efforts and thoughts can do. As megatons of water shape organisms on the ocean floor. As tides polish stones. As winds hollow cliffs. The beautiful supermachinery opening a new life innumerable mankind. Would you deny them the right to exist? Would you ask them to labor and go hungry while you yourself enjoyed old-fashioned Values? You-you yourself are a child of this mass and a brother to all the rest. Or else an ingrate, dilettante, idiot. There, Herzog, thought Herzog, since you ask for the instance, is the way it runs.
-- Herzog, Saul Bellow, 1964
Dedication
To Will and Greg McEwan
First words
Some hours before dawn Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, wakes to find himself already in motion, pushing back the covers from a sitting position, and then rising to his feet.
Quotations
Kdyby Perowne projevoval sklony k náboženství, k nadpřirozeným vysvětlením, mohl by si pohrávat s představou, že byl povolán: tím, že byl probuzen a s neobvykle povzbuzenou myslí bezdůvodně přistoupil k oknu, měl by vzít na vědomí jakýsi skrytý řád, vnější inteligenci, jež mu chce sdělit nebo ukázat něco významného. Jenže neklidné město si nespavce doslova pěstuje, samo o sobě je nespící entitou, jejíž komunikační dráty nikdy nepřestávají bzučet, a mezi tolika miliony se musejí najít lidé, kteří se dívají z okna v době, kdy by normálně spali. A nejsou to každou noc titíž lidé. Že by tím vyvoleným měl být on, a ne někdo jiný, je náhoda. Ve hře je prostý antropogenetický princip. Primitivní přemýšlení o nadpřirozenu má sklony přerůst v to, čemu jeho kolegové psychiatři říkají představa o vlastní důležitosti. Přehánění jedine, přetváření světa v souladu s vlastními potřebami, neschopnost přemýšlet o vlastní bezvýznamnosti. Z Henryho hlediska patří takové uvažování do spektra, na jehož vzdáleném konci se jako opuštěný chrám tyčí psychóza. (s. 21)
Takhle začíná onen dlouhý proces, v jehož průběhu se stáváte dítětem svého dítěte. A nakonec od něj jednoho dne uslyšíte třeba: "Tati, jestli zase začneš brečet, jde se okamžitě domů." (s. 33)
Jaké štěstí, že žena, kterou miluje, je zároveň jeho manželka. (s. 40)
Tenhle všední cyklus usínání a probouzení, ve tmě pod vlastní přikrývkou, s další bytostí, bledá, hebká, citlivá bradavka, přibližující se obličeje v rituálu lásky, nakrátko zabydlené ve věčné potřebe tepla, pohodlí, bezpečí, proplétání údů, aby bylo možno přitáhnout se k sobě blíž - prostá denní útěcha, snad až příliš samozřejmá, že se na ni dá za úsvitu snadno zapomenout. Zaznamenal to kdy nějaký básník? (s. 49)
Sex je jiný živel, láme čas a rozum, je biologický hyperprostor vzdálený od vědomé existence tak jako sny nebo jako voda od vzduchu. Jiný živel, jak říkávala jeho matka, jiný živel - když si zaplaveš, Henry, den se ti promění. A dnešek bude jistě v porovnání s ostatnými jedinečný. (s.50)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099469685, Paperback)

Saturday, February 15, 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man - a successful neurosurgeon, the devoted husband of Rosalind and proud father of two grown-up children. Unusually, he wakes before dawn, drawn to the window of his bedroom and filled with a growing unease. What troubles him as he looks out at the night sky is the state of the world - the impending war against Iraq, a gathering pessimism since 9/11, and a fear that his city and his happy family life are under threat. Later, Perowne makes his way to his weekly squash game through London streets filled with hundreds of thousands of anti-war protestors. A minor car accident brings him into a confrontation with Baxter, a fidgety, aggressive, young man, on the edge of violence. To Perowne's professional eye, there appears to be something profoundly wrong with him. Towards the end of a day rich in incident and filled with Perowne's celebrations of life's pleasures, his family gathers for a reunion. But with the sudden appearance of Baxter, Perowne's earlier fears seem about to be realised.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:56 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

From the pen of a master-the #1 bestselling, Booker Prize-winning author of Atonement-comes an astonishing novel that captures the fine balance of happiness and the unforeseen threats that can destroy it. A brilliant, thrilling page-turner that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Saturday is a masterful novel set within a single day in February 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man-a successful neurosurgeon, happily married to a newspaper lawyer, and enjoying good relations with his children. Henry wakes to the comfort of his large home in central London on this, his day off. He is as at ease here as he is in the operating room. Outside the hospital, the world is not so easy or predictable. There is an impending war against Iraq, and a general darkening and gathering pessimism since the New York and Washington attacks two years before. On this particular Saturday morning, Perowne's day moves through the ordinary to the extraordinary. After an unusual sighting in the early morning sky, he makes his way to his regular squash game with his anaesthetist, trying to avoid the hundreds of thousands of marchers filling the streets of London, protesting against the war. A minor accident in his car brings him into a confrontation with a small-time thug. To Perowne's professional eye, something appears to be profoundly wrong with this young man, who in turn believes the surgeon has humiliated him-with savage consequences that will lead Henry Perowne to deploy all his skills to keep his family alive.… (more)

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