This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Saturday by Ian McEwan

Saturday (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Ian McEwan (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,077209523 (3.69)236
Authors:Ian McEwan (Author)
Info:Anchor (2006), Edition: 1st Thus., 304 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Saturday by Ian McEwan (2005)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 236 mentions

English (185)  French (7)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Norwegian (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (209)
Showing 1-5 of 185 (next | show all)
A book that tries to describe a day in the life of its main character without being boring. It succeeds. ( )
  charlie68 | Feb 20, 2019 |
Oh my gawd, I finally suffered through this ‘best book of the year’. What am I not understanding???

The books summary speaks of what would have been an ordinary day for Henry Perowne, doing some errands and spending time with family. But a minor traffic incident leads to an unsettling confrontation that turns his day nightmarish. This incident is highlighted to be the crux of the story. The traffic incident itself is 20 pages, while the climax, i.e. the ‘nightmare’, is 25 pages. The books is 289 pages long. The rest are long drawn out babbling of his inner thoughts, his identity and his happiness, pandering of his surgical skills, the physicality of a racquetball game, his wife’s family and her alluring self, Daisy’s poetic talents, Theo’s natural blues nature, and an argument over being involved in the Iraq War or not. The best parts of the book are, per usual McEwan style, the relationships. In this case, my favorite is that of Henry’s mother, who is now lost in the “mental death” of dementia. His visit to her is poignant and painfully realistic.

I feel cheated by all the review quotes from book cover/back:

“Dazzling… Powerful…McEwan has shown how we… live today.” - New York Times
Seriously? How many families has a dad (Henry) who is a neurosurgeon, a mom (Rosalind) who is a lawyer, a daughter (Daisy) who is publishing a book of poems at age 22, a son (Theo) who is moving to NYC to headline a blues club at age 18, all of whom living in a seven thousand square feet Roman villa, east of London? The cranky, drunken father-in-law l lives in a French chateau, too. I am willing to concede that some issues transcend all social classes regardless of wealth and talent – cranky, drunken in-law, a mom with dementia.

“Finely wrought and shimmering with intelligence” – The New York Times Book Review
There’s a fine line between verbose vs. intelligence. McEwan goes into excessive descriptions of the aforementioned professions’ skill sets and racquetball, almost as though to show-off his ability to do research. It almost reads like he phoned-a-friend and wrote down everything he was told. He exhibited the same problem with “The Innocent”, rambling on about technical details.

“McEwan is a supremely gifted… Saturday is a tightly wound tour de force.” – Washington Post Book World
Tightly wound? I was so bored that I read three other books between the pages of this book.

“This extraordinary book is not a political novel. It is a novel about consciousness that illuminates the sources of politics.” – The Nation
This is a two-part irrelevant comment. First, despite McEwan choosing the “Saturday” being February 15 2003, the day of the demonstration against the 2003 Iraq invasion of Iraq in London, not even the book summary on the back cover suggest anything political. Second, several consciousness sources were identified – familial, professional, moral values, even sexual; to summarize and artificially push these towards politics is twisting the points. More accurately, there is a valid statement towards political engagement, to do so or not, but not necessarily politics itself.

“Saturday is an exemplary novel, engrossing and sustained. It is undoubtedly McEwan’s best.” – The Spectator
See above about being bored and read three other books. Engrossing? I think not.

“Read the last 100 pages at one sitting – the pace and the thrill allow it… Exhilarating.” – Los Angeles Times
I put up with this book awaiting the thrilling last 100 pages. Then I was deep within 100 pages, and still put it down for long stretches. Even the climax lasted only 25 pages within the 100. The resolution occurred amazingly quickly as though it’s time to call-it-a-day, quite literally! Saturday is done, over, finito! ( )
  varwenea | Sep 25, 2018 |
This novel follows Henry Perowne, neurosurgeon, through an eventful Saturday. It starts off normal enough--he plays squash with a friend, visits his mom with Alzheimers, buys ingredients for the night's dinner. He is eager to see his daughter, who is currently in Parus, and hoping she will make up with her grandfather over dinner.

The day starts off strange, as he watches what he thinks is a plane crash or terrorist attack. He has a minor car accident in the confusion of road closures around a protest march. And that accident comes back to haunt his entire family.

I found this novel to start off very very slowly. The last hundred or so pages were more lively, but I was already tired of the book by then. This reminded me of Mrs Dalloway in the way it covers one day in a life. ( )
  Dreesie | May 27, 2018 |
I will start off by saying the prose was utterly breathtaking. Obviously, McEwan knows how to write. It was philosophical, and descriptive, and evocative, and it's usually exactly what I love about reading stories. However, I did find an issue which nagged at me all throughout my reading experience of this novel - in plain words, the writing was a bit too beautiful. It was dense with philosophical musings. What I mean to say, and what I think I realized during my reading, is that I much prefer to find philosophical insights on a much smaller scale. I want them - these moments of truth - to be rare, like gems, to flash out at me and grab my attention. And here, it felt like this whole book was devoted to analyzing human life with literary descriptiveness and poise - and I think, by the end, nothing stuck by me. Because it was all a big philosophical gobble, and I couldn't hang on to any particular phrase. This might all be just a tremendous baseless philosophical musing on my part, and on second reading of this book it might change (not that I'm going to read it a second time, to be honest). I might just not have read it in the right mood, or with the right attention to details - but on the whole, the story fell a little flat for me, and it was nothing that the writing - beautiful as it might have been - could make up for. ( )
  UDT | May 1, 2018 |
24-ish hours in the life of a London surgeon. Closely written. I liked it well enough, but do not give me a character named Grammaticus and expect it not to distract me the whole time. ( )
  Laurelyn | Oct 20, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 185 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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
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.
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)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.69)
0.5 7
1 62
1.5 15
2 170
2.5 45
3 526
3.5 212
4 923
4.5 118
5 437

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 133,385,291 books! | Top bar: Always visible