McEwan, Ian

Book - 2005
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
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.

Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0385511809
Branch Call Number: FICTION MCEWAN
Characteristics: 289 p. ;,25 cm


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Jan 19, 2015
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A London neurosurgeon who has everything going for him wakes up to a Saturday like no other, and realizes by the end of the day that he has crossed the bar into middle age.

Dec 24, 2014
  • ktallent rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I've been binge reading McEwan this fall. While doing so I've discovered a bit of a pattern in his novels. Successful rationalist professionals, central London, outside agitators (Baxter in Saturday) (Jed Perry in Enduring Love) and heart pumping scenes of emotional cat and mouse. McEwan may not mix it up but he is certainly a master at what he does. He does upper class anxiety and tension better than almost anybody.

Apr 21, 2014
  • Cecilturtle rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is another outstanding novel by McEwan. In just a few swift strikes, taking mundane and severe events, the author is able to show us the complex roles a man can have, as he stands alone, in a family, in a social and professional realm, in an urban setting and as a citizen of the world. Using these concentric circle, McEwan weaves in our moral, global responsibilities and our local and inner actions which all define who we are and how we are connected to all human beings despite our not realizing it. I found it absolutely brilliant!

Dec 18, 2013
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes will probably have to duke it out for greatest living British author (suck it Amis). They both seem like pretty modest guys who write @ a steady pace and produced a high quality of work rather than one big masterpiece. Along with "Atonement," this is McEwan's signature novel, the story of a neurosurgeon in the course of one day, set in London shortly before the Iraq War. I always like McEwan without, you know, like liking him. And, of course, any book set on one day is bound to have the shadow of "Ulysses" hanging over it.

Sep 26, 2013
  • stewh rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Short compelling novel. Very personal feel, very wide perspective. I enjoyed it a lot.

Feb 19, 2013

As successful, happily married neurosurgeon Henry Perowne negotiates his way through the crowds protesting the invasion of Iraq (he's on his way to a squash game), he gets drawn into a confrontation with Baxter, a small-time thug, whom he embarrasses in the course of defusing the situation. That same evening, Baxter visits the Perowne home to exact revenge for what he sees as his public humiliation, resulting in a scene so tense you'll be able to feel it. Though the events of this novel take place during the course of a single Saturday, Henry is a compassionate man who considers the world around him, so discourses on surgery, terrorism, art, and gratitude are all part of this "wise and poignant portrait of the way we live now" (Publishers Weekly).

Fiction A to Z newsletter February 2013.

Sep 15, 2012
  • joelibrarybook rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

A fast read. rather wordy for a novel that has a short time frame. I guess the prose was descriptive but I kept finding myself doing lots of skimming over the surface.

Mar 10, 2011
  • jalyth rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I couldn't finish this book. I was that bored by it.

Oct 10, 2010
  • pod rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I enjoy most of McEwan's books. They read like those Dutch Master still-lifes: beautiful, but corrupt. Saturday though was a real disappointment. In a departure from his exploration of attractive, but ultimately rotten characters, McEwan tries to define a hero for our times, a model of a man. But every detail is banal and indulgent. The pathetic pleasure Perowne takes in the hum of a Mercedes says it all. I advise McEwan to stick to the portraits he renders so exquisitely: the self-absorbed individual haplessly complicit in his own demise. True heroism and redemption seem within reach for Briony in Atonement, but not for our man with the smart townhouse and squash club in London. In the end he - and the novel - are simply complacent.

Sep 23, 2009
  • LMOH rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Like James Joyce's Ulysses, Saturday is the story of one day in the life of an average man. It begins when he sees a plane on fire flying through the sky in the middle of the night. Set in post-9/11 London, that's a significant event. There is a mass demonstration of Londoners against the Iraq war. Henry seems to be evaluating his life, and trying to deal with the fear that 9/11 has introduced into his otherwise comfortable life. He's a brain surgeon, and there is a lot of medical terminology in the book, but otherwise a really enjoyable read.

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Jul 17, 2009
  • lms rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A neurologist spends time reflecting post Sept 11 in London on his career as a Brain Surgeon, his relationships and life. Rare and authentic

Aug 05, 2008

I would like to read this book again for the philosophy and the poetry. Details about the operations reveal the fact that McEwan has been researching his subject. The author is probably as well a painter because his descriptions are done from one who has studied his subjects.


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