Saturday
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Saturday

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  36,737 ratings  ·  2,773 reviews
Saturday, February 15, 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man, a successful neurosurgeon, the devoted husband of Rosalind and the proud father of two grown-up children, one a promising poet, the other a talented blues musician. 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 nigh...more
Paperback, 289 pages
Published April 11th 2006 by Anchor Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Shovelmonkey1
Aug 05, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are prepared to suspend their disbelief about how talented and successful everyone is
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Hello everybody,
I'm Henry Perowne and welcome to a day in my life... a Saturday to be precise. I'm a good natured sort of chap, if I were famous I'd probably be saddled with the tag of "thinking women's crumpet", but personally I take myself much to seriously to acknowledge that kind of thing. I'm a successful neurosurgeon who enjoys long, descriptive and adjective laden games of squash with my erudite and debonair colleagues. Today, for once in my incredibly lucky and wealthy life, I had a spot...more
Lobstergirl
Godawful.

"Saturday" was ponderous, labored, rhetorically thick and therefore perhaps to my mind pretentious, or do I mean pompous? It was like a big bloated beer gut, but a beer gut bloated - indeed, rendered distended, turgid, and tumescent - by the finest chardonnays, Gewurztraminers, and Sauvignon Blancs, sipped (quaffed?) while listening to Bach Partitas. It was bereft of conciseness, brevity, midgetude, terseness, laconism, abbreviation, and pith, its rather meaningless, hollow sentences cu...more
Jonathan

Jonathan sits before his reliable laptop, gathering his thoughts on how to begin a review of Ian McEwan's Saturday. He has already made up his mind as to how he shall write this review, a mediocre attempt at emulating Mr McEwan's third-person, present-tense style, will suffice. Yet he struggles with the concept of how best to begin the review. Shall he mention the plot, the themes or the beautiful writing? He knows at this point that he will refer to why he talks as an omniscient narrator for th...more
John Brooks
I would not qualify "Saturday" as McEwan's best work. I think the argument begins and ends with "Atonement" in terms of sheer literary achievement.

But "Saturday" is McEwan's most immediate work; the one that feels most like a significant and honest byproduct of both the time and place from which it emerged and the man from whose mind materialized. To be clear, I adore "Atonement" and, for all its heart-wrenching and visceral exploration of obsession and paranoia, I love "Enduring Love".

"Saturda...more
Paul
Sep 19, 2012 Paul rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
*******Note : SPOILERS ALL OVER THE PLACE!! This review is for people who have read Saturday or people who will never read Saturday!********

Reading Saturday is like running a weird obstacle race. At first it’s all manicured lawns and rhododendrons, and then it’s hideous piles of donkey droppings, and that’s how it goes – daffodils, donkey droppings, vistas of beauty, donkey droppings. And I’m not sure that was the intended effect. What a weird novel – here we have one of the stupidest plot devic...more
Manny
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marigold
I loved this book! This is not a book for you if you’re looking for entertainment only, or light reading. This is a book full of layers, metaphors, parallels, & issues to think about. The thing that most reached out & grabbed me was the idea of a man going about his daily life (whether you find his daily life mundane or overly privileged or whatever), when unexpected events occur & change everything. That’s always sort of a scary theme for me! On the surface it’s the story of Henry,...more
Lori
Sep 13, 2007 Lori rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who have trouble falling alseep
Shelves: fiction
Ok. I usually force myself to finish each novel I start. (with the two exceptions so far being Catch 22 and Atlas Shrugged).. I do this (1) to at least get my moneys worth, and (2) because I know somewhere in there, there must be a part worth waiting for.

This book fell into the (2) catagory. It was an impossible bore throughout most of the novel, with one interesting fight in an alley due to a fender bender.... until you hit the last 50 pages. For me, hitting those last chapters was like breaki...more
Maciek
Short version: GOD IT WAS BORING.

Long version: You know the anecdote that a succesful novelist could publish his shopping list and people would buy it? That's the case with Saturday. A chronicle of 24 hours from the life of neurosurgeon Henry Perowne, the novel is full of his ruminations, reminiscences, all described in painful, tedious detail. McEwan fails to build an actual plot; instead you'll be sure to hear every single event, no matter how irrelevant and drawn out (there's an 18 page descr...more
C.
May 22, 2009 C. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Suzy, everyone
Recommended to C. by: the three-for-the-price-of-two table at Borders
Shelves: own-or-access
A day in the life of a neurosurgeon? Sounds interesting enough. A day in the life of a neurosurgeon, which just happens to be the day when a curious chain of events culminates in the aforementioned neurosurgeon performing an emergency operation upon the man who threatened to slit the throat of his wife and rape his daughter? Does that sound better, or just trashier?

This book works thanks to the detail. I'm not sure if it's McEwan (I must reread Atonement and read some of his other books; Endurin...more
Rose
Aug 07, 2008 Rose rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: doctors, determinists, naturalists, those interested in the human brain
No spoilers here.

This book explores the events of Henry Perowne's Saturday, which I can kind of see as a metaphor for a person's life. You start out with nothing but potential, events happen, and each day ends with its own sort of oblivion - sleep.

As with Atonement, McEwan's prose in this book was simply delicious. At the end of this review are some of my favorite passages that I just needed to type out for my own memory's sake.

But I also think that reading Atonement first spoiled me. I was ex...more
Lain
Rare is the author who can write a compelling story in clear prose. Rarer still is the author who can create fine and distinct layers of meaning while maintaining that clear narrative. Ian McEwan is one of those authors.

In the tradition of "Mrs. Dalloway," "Saturday" traces the ordinary activities of an ordinary man, neurologist Henry Preowne. Against the backdrop of a huge anti-war march in London, Henry goes about his daily activities -- a squash game, checking in on his patients at the hospi...more
Amanda Patterson
I took this book out of desperation. There seems to be so little good fiction out there at the moment. I wish I hadn’t. I began to hope that Saturday would become Sunday very quickly as I started to read.

I think McEwan gets by on his literary accolades alone. Apparently he won the Booker Prize for Amsterdam in 1998. He has also written 8 other novels. I would dare another publisher to take him on under a pseudonym – and to succeed.

McEwan, as always, dwells on the damage and darkness of life. He...more
Reid
Atonement was a great novel, a pretty good movie as well. But Saturday is tighter, a more personal novel, more focused and perhaps more human. I originally got interested in this book as it was compared to Proust and I wanted to get the gist without slogging through thousands of pages to get that done. The action is almost entirely in Perowne's head, which really gave me a glimpse into McEwan himself. I suppose I think it's impossible to get outside one's own thoughts, I think that might be part...more
Siobhan
May 13, 2009 Siobhan added it
Shelves: bad-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim
Apr 03, 2008 Jim rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone who already likes McEwan. Someone new to the author should choose something else.
I think McEwan took the approach James Joyce used in Ulysses, that is, to detail the events of a day, in a narrative driven by a character's thoughts. Ulysses is a stream-of-consciousness masterpiece, Saturday isn't in that league. (It's probably unfair to compare a novelist with James Joyce, but literary publicists do it all the time. McEwan has received plenty of positive comparisons with the likes of Dickens and Hardy, even Shakespeare.)

There is some beautiful writing here, and that kept me...more
Alan
as usual expertly written - so why 2 stars? Because it is stupidly unbelievable - the hero is not only a great brain surgeon but an excellent squash player and a good cook, with a beautiful wife who loves him, a son who is a marvellous bass player (tutored by Jack Bruce!), and a daughter who is not only a good poet (and just out of her teenage years), but an award winning one too. The parents too are distinguished. There are maybe families like this around but I've never met them or known anyone...more
Bonnie
Enjoyed this much more than Atonement!
M. D.  Hudson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janet
I hated this book. He's a great writer but this was pure bullshit. The best doctor in London married to the best lawyer in London, their kids a world class guitarist and a world class poet, the grandfather a world class poet too and even the goddamn grandmother was a channel swimmer. Isn't there one damn slacker in the whole group? Just one fat daughter who dated a criminal amputee and worked at the 7-11? please? I believed this book for a fast 2.5 seconds. Every punch is pulled. I wanted the cr...more
Esteban del Mal
"...it interests him less to have the world reinvented; he wants it explained."

Literature still has something to say to science.

Against the backdrop of the pending invasion of Iraq, a very rational and orderly neurosurgeon is menaced by a very irrational hooligan. Poetry comes to the rescue.
Petra
My second book by Ian McEwan and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Like Atonement, McEwan's prose and pacing throughout this book is fantastic. He can add tension and dilemma to ordinary thoughts & events.

Henry Perowne seems to be in the middle of just about everything in his life: he’s middle aged, in between children (his kids are grown & there are no grandchildren yet), he’s between generations (his & his wife’s parents and his kids), he lives in the middle of London, etc. Also, the wor...more
Cynthia
McEwan's story begins with an insomniac neurosurgeon gazing out his London home window and seeing a plane going down in flames at Heathrow. It is 2003 and a huge peace rally is planned for the coming day. The juxtaposition of the crashing plane and the expected peace picketers creates tension from the novel's opening placing all events against the 9 11 scenario. Worried about the plane the surgeon goes down several flights of his 7,000 square foot near mansion into the basement kitchen where he...more
Caris
Aug 01, 2009 Caris rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
Goddamn you, Ian McEwan.

This book made me uncomfortable. That's the best word I can come up with at the moment. The story is so thoughtfully told and never rushed that I didn't see what was coming until it hit me. How is one to go on after reading something like this? Just pretend it didn't and continue to talk to people like nothing has happened? Like that aching tightness in your chest isn't there? Like that slight lack of resolution isn't sitting in your gut like so much lead?

When I started t...more
Nikki
Like my (upcoming) review of Perdido Street Station, this was written as I went along. My mum told me to read this book just so that I've read something of McEwan's work, to get an idea of the East Anglia style -- I was once planning to do the same writing course.

The first ten pages bored me. Blah, blah, blah, mostly medical procedure, a doctor's life is so busy, blahblahblah -- a scenario I know well as a doctor's daughter, that doesn't really seem to merit ten pages to me. It got old fast in r...more
Gerald
This book drew me in. His writing has style and voice, and to me that's almost more important than story.

The main character is a brain surgeon and I was fascinated by the descriptions in the operating theater. And I usually have an aversion to those kinds of descriptions. But, wow, peeling a woman's face off her skull and then going in through the nose? Don't try that at home.

Now, here's my dilemma with this book. A little more than halfway through, the story spirals into rather mundane movie-st...more
Annalisa
I'm bored; I'm done. I loved Atonement so much I had to check out whether or not any of McEwan's novels were as powerful. The thing is, the slow descriptive pace works for Atonement because of the subject matter. The over-examination had a purpose. But here we have the life of a middle-aged typically cocky doctor and we examine an entire day in his life. Some people's lives may be worth the slow pain-staking analysis, but his, I just don't care about. But that's not even why I quit. I got fed up...more
Scout
This is a well-written novel about one Saturday in an English neurosurgeon's life. It's Henry's day off, he's in his late 40s,and things are going well with him. He's had more than his share of good fortune, but he worries about the state of the world. England is on the verge of joining the war with Iraq, so there's a lot here about the pros and cons of war.

Theo, Henry's 18-year-old blues-playing son, shares how he deals with this uncertain world:

". . . the bigger you think, the crappier it loo...more
Jan Rice
This one deserves the four stars. Of the four McEwan novels I've read, it was the best. Not just that plot device of one bad thing happening, but a series of events plus layers of meaning.

The book takes place entirely on one eventful day, hence its name.

I read this book in about 2006.

Later I heard this book preached against in a mainline Presbyterian church downtown. It must have been 2009, because we were there to hear Douglas Blackmon speak on Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Bl...more
Julie
This is the most introspective of McEwan's novels. It's a 24-hour period in the life of neurosurgeon Henry Perowne. What sets out to be a sleepy Saturday full of errands (a squash game, a trip to the grocer, a visit with his mother) turns into the inner dialogue of a man coping with unsettling turns of events.

This is definitely a post-Nine Eleven narrative, comprised of Henry's thoughts about the political climate and observations of the anti-war rallies taking place. Other underlying themes in...more
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Ian McEwan was born on 21 June 1948 in Aldershot, England. He studied at the University of Sussex, where he received a BA degree in English Literature in 1970. He received his MA degree in English Literature at the University of East Anglia.

McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last...more
More about Ian McEwan...
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