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Saturday (2005)

by Ian McEwan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,827218601 (3.68)252
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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» See also 252 mentions

English (191)  French (8)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  Norwegian (2)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (218)
Showing 1-5 of 191 (next | show all)
One star for the one or so pages that were interesting to read.

I generally LOVE books that are nothing but the inner thoughts of a character or characters, but man...Henry!!!! Your thoughts are boring A.F!!!

I enjoyed his thoughts about the surgeries he had to perform recently, but not much else. I definitely didn't need to hear his thoughts about his erections. LOL

Anyway, great idea for a book but it needs a character with a much more interesting mind. ( )
  Jinjer | Jul 19, 2021 |
Although I like other Ian McEwan books I got bored with this one. ( )
  Kgferris | Jul 12, 2021 |
This is an absolute tour de force of writing....*5...and yet, I didnt love it - even as I was thinking "how can anyone write that brilliantly"
Neorosurgeon Henry Perowne, is an absolute success. Top of the tree professionall; a lovely lawyer wife and an AMAZING marriage; a poet father in law; and two wonderful children- a musician who's going places and a published poetess daughter.
Now...you're going to struggle to keep the reader rooting for such flawless individuals.
Covering a 24-hour period in his life: London-based Henry ruminates on the uncertain world he inhabits - war with Iraq imminent, civil unrest, the aging process..
A minor car crash brings him into contact with violent thug Baxter.....not merely a crim, but (as Henry's analytical eye soon deduces) in the first stages of a a neurological disorder.
While we dont LIKE Baxter, we (well, I) found him marginally more sympathetic than the well-heeled family..
McEwan writes minutely: the detailed descriptions of operations were more gripping than the blow by blow account of a squash game.
Look, the author's meditations on life strike to the heart. But the Perowne clan left me cold... ( )
  starbox | Jun 18, 2021 |
One day in the life of surgeon Henry Perowne. Comfortably settled in London, he is nevertheless beset by fears about the state of the world. It is 2003.

We follow Henry as he goes through his day, up to the dramatic good night.

I read this some time ago and cannot remember details, only that I liked it and it was quick and easy to read. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
First adventure into audiobooks. Found it hard to follow along at times because it was read in a British accent (duh, Nan). ( )
  amandanan | Jun 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 191 (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)
 
Why review a work of fiction for The Indexer? Chiefly because of the author’s use of several very different taxonomies covering neurosurgery, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s chorea, blues music, squash and fish. The cumulative effect of this detail is to emphasize that, despite much knowledge, training, experience and wide interests, Perowne is powerless to control unexpected horrors. He uses his brain to heal other brains, but he cannot fathom the workings of the mind. The complex taxonomy of neurosurgery is used twice: at the opening of the book and again near the end. The author could have maintained the reader’s interest and suspense with more simple language, but his careful research has produced a precision that gives a far stronger sense of authenticity, not only to medical indexers who will have little trouble following the procedures. Again with Alzheimer’s disease: the detail contrasts with the lively mother and swimming champion whom Perowne remembers when he visits her in a nursing home. As for Huntington’s chorea, the taxonomy is essential to explain the unusual behaviour of the man who threatens him; he is not the average street thug. The squash game is, again, described moment by moment and gives insight to Perowne’s character: he is desperately keen to win, coming close to an acrimonious dispute with his anaesthetist with whom he has an ideal professional relationship. Even the fishmonger’s slab is described in taxonomic detail which leads to Perowne’s contemplation of moral matters such as whether fish feel pain.
 
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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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.

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