Gerald's Reviews > Saturday

Saturday by Ian McEwan
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's review
Feb 14, 2008

really liked it
Read in March, 2005

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-style violence, or mostly the threat of violence. Certainly that's organic to the theme. But when I realized it was going in that direction, my heart sank. Just another movie-ready thriller with its hook "ripped from the headlines."

I hope McEwan tries something more subtle next time.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Angie I agree with you to some degree that the violent section with Baxter is a bit out of line with the rest of the book. However, it is obvious that there will have to be some sort of confrontation with him, and I have to admit that I never expected it to be a casual encounter. The way McEwan moves the story so that Perowne himself is in the operating room with Baxter seems appropriate. And I especially like his decision to encourage his family not to prosecute. I especially enjoyed the circular closure of having him at the window again at the end of the day and in perfect harmony with his wife and family. I thought it was very well-written.

Gerald I think my issue with it is more emotional than structural. Choice of material. Like many people, I'm feeling increasingly sunburned by violence and trauma and I don't need to go looking for it in literature.

Deanne I work in a neuro theatre in the UK, and have to say that the list of procedures performed would be impossible for any normal neurosurgeon to be able to do on a normal list.

Gerald Aw nuts I was so impressed I was almost not scared of brain surgery anymore.

Deanne Well it's not rocket science.

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