Shovelmonkey1's Reviews > Saturday

Saturday by Ian McEwan
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 05, 11

bookshelves: 1001-books, bookcrossing-books, read-in-2011
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Recommended for: people who are prepared to suspend their disbelief about how talented and successful everyone is
Read from May 14 to 15, 2011, read count: 1

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 of bad luck and pranged my top of the range Merc. This led to an encounter which can, at best, be described as unpleasant. The thugs in the red BMW gave me a bit of a pasting which left me with a cracking haematoma over my sternum. However, my extensive medical knowledge allowed me to diagnose one of my attackers with a genetically inherited degenerative disease on the spot. This allowed me to escape, quick-smart, while they brooded over their own mortality.

Later, after welcoming home my improbably talented and successful 16 year old Blues Musician son and my improbably talented and successful published poet daughter there was another small altercation. This time however the ebb and flow of violent modern day life breached the walls of this englishman's pricey Georgian Castle and things took a turn for the worse.

Needless to say, my calculating surgeons mind and spirited, courageous family pulled together to best the simian-like thugs. Ironically it then fell to me to save said thug with an emergency neurosurgical procedure. Life's funny that way. I wrapped up the whole day the way it began; by making love to my improbably talented and successful wife and then having a little bit of a wistful ponder about my own mortality while considering it in perspective against a backdrop of modern foreign policy.
158 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Saturday.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

05/14/2011 page 100
33.0% "This is my third attempt at reading this book. If I fail this time the books going straight out of the apartment window onto the main street." 4 comments
show 1 hidden update…

Comments (showing 1-49 of 49) (49 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Nathan Amen!

Chaybyrd The best review ever written. Exactly what this book was

Rishe Love it. I bought this book years ago and made myself sit through it on a project to read my entire shelf.. Should've read this review at the start.

Sophia I have to admit: I actually agree with what you are saying, but I loved the book anyway. As I found it to be exceptionally well written I forgive him for exaggerating the splendidness of Perowne's life. When a book is well written it can pull off everything.

Shovelmonkey1 Sophia wrote: "I have to admit: I actually agree with what you are saying, but I loved the book anyway. As I found it to be exceptionally well written I forgive him for exaggerating the splendidness of Perowne's ..."

Thanks Sophia, my review is a bit tongue-in-cheek. I am normally a fan of McEwan as well but I didn't enjoy this one as much. I still like The Comfort of Strangers and The Cement Garden best and they are among his earlier works.

message 6: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Agadada-Davida Shovelmonkey1 wrote: "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."

Classic cake and eat it description. How many of our friends meet this description?

Shovelmonkey1 Goodreads friends or bog standard common or garden real world friends?

message 8: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Agadada-Davida I was thinking GR, but if you have lots of thinking women's crumpet friends in real life, this is your opportunity to brag.

Shovelmonkey1 No sadly not although some of the builders I am forced into contact with are not unpleasant on the eye.

message 10: by Julie (new) - rated it 1 star

Julie Sums it up perfectly.

message 11: by Maya (new) - rated it 1 star

Maya Brilliant!

Shovelmonkey1 Thank you: )

Jonathan That's one way to sum up the novel, good review!

Shovelmonkey1 merci buckets.

Maciek Great review. I thought that the novel should have been titled "Rich white men and their problems".

Shovelmonkey1 It is one of the books which has people scratching their heads in some ways i think. Is it a parody of a certain class or is it a genuine story? Are we supposed to like/sympathise with/identify with the protaganists or is it a poke at upper middle class Britain's fleshy white underbelly? Or none of the above...?

Maciek I genuinely don't know. Guess it's the sort of stuff smart people read to get smart. The book's brilliance must escape us, common readers!

Shovelmonkey1 I found it to be a strange diversion from some of his other books. Although the one about children - The Child in Time - I also failed to get quick spectacularly. But I always persist in reading what he writes so I guess he'd done his job.

Maciek I thought The Comfort of Strangers was neat when I first read the age of 12? I reread it last year and noticed that I should have left it in the memory lane. I like the way he writes but actually don't like many of his books. A strange paradox!

Shovelmonkey1 A strange paradox indeed. The cement garden is one of my favourites plus the strange uncomfortable atmosphere of On Chesil Beach was also pleasing but odd at the same time. Ah Mr McEwan how you confuse me!

Maciek I was harsh when judging On Chesil Beach and would probably rate it higher today, but am not sure. I thought The Cement Garden was pretty good as well. Have you read The Innocent? That one is surprisignly brisk for a McEwan novel and not at all bad!

Shovelmonkey1 That's the last one languishing on my shelf by IM. Not got round to it yet but will bump up the list on your say so... and am currently experiencing literary itchy feet so am hoovering up large amounts of travel literature right now. This week i've travelled the silk road, spent some time in china along the Yangtze and am about to migrate into Siberia!

Maciek Oh, no need to make special arrangements for this particular McEwan novel - it's not extraordinary thought there is a particularly grisly development in it and it's justfun to read, which is not an adjective I would use when describing his work! I heard lots of good about Travels in Siberia - it might be worth considering!

Georgesear Great review! Having read and liked Atonement, On Chesil Beach and Amsterdam, I found myself annoyed at Saturday. Meandering, aimless, dull. tsk tsk. May take awhile before I resume Mr. McEwan's works.

Jonathan Dennis rate the review 5 stars, book would have got 0 if i had had the option. how could you justify spending that amount of time on the review tho would be my only question?

Shovelmonkey1 If a book is worth reading from cover to cover then I normally produce a little brain spew on the subject matter. I enjoyed writing this review a lot as it was a challenge to write a review which reflected the tone of the book without just being a huge spoiler in it's own right. Thanks for liking!

Shovelmonkey1 ooh one review away from a review century! amazing! Thanks everyone :)

message 28: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Agadada-Davida I wish I could vote twice. Here's a preemptive high five! You deserve it and Frankly I can't believe you haven't achieved it earlier and more frequently.

Shovelmonkey1 Morning Ian - you are too kind. Always found it strange that this is the most popular review from my back catalogue but it is a testament also to how many people read McEwan's works. Which reminds me I must get on with becoming a McEwan "Completist" as I've only got three books to go.

Shovelmonkey1 ps you are currently reading some heavy dope, marine (to quote Jamie Foxx in Jarhead).

message 31: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Agadada-Davida Haha, the philosophy or the erotica, or Proust (both?)?

message 32: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Agadada-Davida I haven't worked out where I stand on McEwan. He doesn't strike me as very humorous.

Shovelmonkey1 Not tres humorous no, more bleak really. All of your books at the moment are very heavy dope. Don't think i could read all that simultaneously without suffering severe grey-matter fatigue. Bravo!

message 34: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Agadada-Davida Strictly on the QT, I was told I should read something more intellectual for a change.

Shovelmonkey1 Thank you Andrew! 100 likes! My first review century!

Shovelmonkey1 Ian wrote: "Strictly on the QT, I was told I should read something more intellectual for a change."

So you decided to read everything intellectual all at once? Brave, very brave! and clever too.

Liberalviewer1 Agreed. What a boring, self-indulgent book.

Shovelmonkey1 This is a book which has divided opinion, especially among the mcewan completists. It was not my favourite and a bit navel gazey but i guess all literary output is a form of self indulgence... even our own reviews. After all we assume people will want to read them, right?

Liberalviewer1 Alas! But there's self-indulgence and then there's the McEwan kind! Don't you agree? ;)

Shovelmonkey1 This book does get its own special category for sure.

message 41: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Meyer a moronic work...I was waiting for Perowne to describe for us how he needed to clean his closet of all his expired Brooks Brothers suits. this guy gets awards?

message 42: by Jim (new) - rated it 1 star

Jim Thank you. I staggered to the end of this endless introspective verbiage with enormous relief. Your review sums up much of what I thought. The only thing I might add is am I really expected to believe that such a high-powered surgeon with such an erudite family could be so colossally ignorant as to never have heard of Matthew Arnold?

Monique While I enjoyed the book, your review really is perfect.

Liana Pitel Fantastic review!! Oh crap?!? It's on the reading list for our book club next fall

Liberalviewer1 Danger, danger, Liana! Avoid this self-indulgent, preposterous, boring work, all costs!

message 46: by Trina (new)

Trina I could not have written this review any better myself!!! you absolutely nailed it!!!

Richard Perfect summary. I just read another McEwan novel and had completely forgotten why I didn't like this one. Thanks to this, I know exactly why.

message 48: by Gracey (new) - added it

Gracey Excellent review! I didn't enjoy this book either & you've done a fabulous job of putting my dissatisfaction into words!

message 49: by Gavin (new) - rated it 1 star

Gavin Barkway Perfect review. I read this having enjoyed Atonement but couldn't believe how horribly pompous it was. I've since read more McEwan for me.

back to top