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Saturday

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  60,537 ratings  ·  3,936 reviews
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 hosp ...more
Paperback, 289 pages
Published April 11th 2006 by Anchor (first published February 2005)
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
md1979 If you're going to post a question that contains nothing but spoilers, then you should hide the contents or put a spoiler warning in it. Because other…moreIf you're going to post a question that contains nothing but spoilers, then you should hide the contents or put a spoiler warning in it. Because otherwise you're actually ruining this book for anyone who hasn't read it.(less)
Cavak Like the name implies, it's a single Saturday of a British family man's life. It tries to capture all the thoughts we could have throughout the day th…moreLike the name implies, it's a single Saturday of a British family man's life. It tries to capture all the thoughts we could have throughout the day that we may or may not be fully conscious of having.

From a glance, it's somewhat uneventful. Sure, there are things that do happen and it may be humdrum in certain ways in the literary world. To the point where I think many expecting "something to happen" will give up finishing it.

It's the questions that are presented in the meanderings throughout the novel that are the most compelling aspects of it. Especially knowing that it is dated during the peak of anxieties for the War on Terror. Hindsight adds an extra punch to it that wouldn't be possible when it was first published.(less)

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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  60,537 ratings  ·  3,936 reviews


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Shovelmonkey1
Jul 01, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Jan 15, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, to-be-burned
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 Terrington

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
Ahmad Sharabiani
2. Saturday, Ian McEwan

The book, published in February 2005 by Jonathan Cape in the United Kingdom and in April in the United States, was critically and commercially successful. Critics noted McEwan's elegant prose, careful dissection of daily life, and interwoven themes. It won the 2005 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. It has been translated into eight languages.

Saturday (2005) is a novel by Ian McEwan set in Fitzrovia, London, on Saturday, 15 February 2003, as a large demonstration
...more
Fergus
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some books just hit you with the full blunt anarchical force of a powerful dream.

Or like 9/11 itself.

This out-of-the-way novel by the incredible British writer Ian McEwan represented what was for me - in the years following upon the annihilation of all my delicate presuppositions on that cataclysmic but classically Indian-Summer day in 2001 - a savage indictment of my standard middle-class mores.

For 9/11 was exactly the same thing for Dr. Henry Perowne.

And four years after that landmark day, I w
...more
Will Byrnes
Sep 15, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Bryant
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Fabian
Jul 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
For me, one-star ratings are extremely rare.

& this is, without a doubt, one of the worst books... Ever! The titular day is a bland array of stupid events that fill up a stupid life. The neurosurgeon atop his manse contemplates the plague of humanity living right below him (commoners, proletarians, drug addicts) all the while believing that his own existence is worthwhile as he parades around all the perks of being rich in a modern-day luxurious London. I detested this neo-bourgeoisie panorama t
...more
Wen
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This wasn’t my favorite Ian McEwan. Admittedly there were very valid points in some of the negative reviews. But I’m partial regarding to McEwan--his mesmerizing prose, particularly his superb interpretation of music (e.g. jazz/blues in this book and modern classical in Amsterdam) woke up all my senses.
Lisa
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My star rating of "Saturday" is a reminder of the days when I still liked his writing style enough to give him the benefit of my suppressed doubt.

I will let those stars remain shining here to remember what kind of strange magnetic power this author has to make me try, again and again, to discover the evasive genius that seems to be hiding just around the next sentence...

I do hold a personal grudge against one of the last scenes in "Saturday" though. I have never been able to fully forget the te
...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
Manny
Nov 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marigold
Apr 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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, a successful ...more
Jason Koivu
Sep 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I found this book: Saturday by Ian McEwan.

Then I read it.

Things happened, some exciting and some less so, nothing of super consequence.

I finished the book. I put it away and forgot about it.

I then went on to another book.

That's my reading experience and that's the arc of Saturday. It's a "day in the life of" short story dragged out into novel length. Granted there's plenty packed into that day and it's admirably juggled by McEwan.

The main character is accosted. He happens to be a doctor and tha
...more
Lori
Sep 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Helle
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english, 1001-books
There’s something mesmerizing about Ian McEwan’s writing which results in my having a peculiar kind of blind spot when it comes to his stories. No matter how ordinary they are; no matter how unremarkable they appear at first sight, or how construed they clearly are, I am helplessly drawn into the universe of his prose. There’s some kind of stylistic vortex that just sucks me in.

As in many of his novels, the plot hinges on one event, though in this novel it might be two: first, the protagonist, H
...more
Barbara H
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, abandoned
To state that I read this is not exactly true. This was my second attempt to read this book. I want to preface my statements to say that I have enjoyed many of McEwan's books very much. Although I am a medically educated person and understand the relevant language, I found the narrative tedious, tremendously rambling and slow to reach any point of interest for me. Apparently I am in a minority, but fortunately, there are many more books of interest for me to read.
Betsy Robinson
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This eighth book in my current Ian McEwan binge is the one I have now purchased just after reading a digital copy. (All the others have been library copies.) The reason being that not only is this story of one day in the life of a neurosurgeon so brilliant and moving that it reduced me to a sweaty puddle, but reading a single line of McEwan's narrative lights a fire in my writer brain. He reminds me about full-sensory life and how to express it—color, heat/cold, smell, etc.—evoking the words of ...more
Lain
Dec 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Janet
Sep 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Amy
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life is good for Henry, a successful surgeon who loves his wife and grown children and still plays a wicked game of squash. Then, in the midst of a routine day off, a random act of violence rocks his comfortable world. McEwan creates lots of tension in this novel and also gives us a fine portrait of a true nurturer and healer.
Kaya
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
McEwan is one of my favourite authors and that is why this review is so painful for me, trust me. I put a lot of effort to like this book and understand it, to read between the lines, find a hidden meaning. But I failed to comprehend it. It’s meaningless and it frustrates me that I don’t know what message McEwan was trying to send.

Saturday is set in 2003, two years after the 9/11 attacks and in the middle of Iraq invasion. It presents a single day in narrator’s life. Harry has a well-paid job t
...more
Nigel
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars or 7/10. Pretty good
This was a well written book, as always by Ian McEwan, and there was a lot to like. As the title suggests, the book is contained within one eventful day in the busy life of a middle-aged neurosurgeon living in Central London. Set soon after the events of September 11, England is preparing to invade Iraq, sparking massive anti-war protests in London. This book captures the mood of those times very well, and the protagonists ambivalence about the war on terror, as wel
...more
Reid
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Carol
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Saturday, a day in the life of a neurosurgeon, is my first experience with Ian McEwan, and I'm afraid it didn't go well for me. The tedious writing style with umpteen unnecessary subject matters thrown in pretty much put me off. There are a couple of OH NO! moments though, and I did want to find out how the good doctor handled his (view spoiler) last surgery of the day, so 3 Stars it is and a hopeful move forward to Atonement bc I happen to own that novel too. ...more
Edward
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm still a little circumspect towards McEwan since my last experience, but fortunately I didn't find Saturday as objectionable. There were certainly still contrived plot elements, unrealistic characters, and very awkward passages, but nothing as egregious as Amsterdam. What I enjoy about McEwan's writing is his exploration of fear. He doesn't shy away from placing his characters in genuinely terrifying situations.

The main weakness of Saturday is the lack of focus in the composition. There is c
...more
Amanda Patterson
Nov 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
...more
Wanda
I guess it speaks volumes that many days have passed since I finished Saturday and I really didn’t have too much to say about it. It was very well written—the story pulled me swiftly along until the end (once I finally committed to starting the novel). I liked the main character, Henry, well enough.

Saturday made me realize what privileged lives we lead in the developed world. What passes for a bad day for Henry (minor car accident, bad squash game, visit to his mother with dementia, disagreemen
...more
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, fiction
Saturday is a compelling and gripping novel, sometimes quite dark but certainly worth it for its historical references and emotional family stories.
Rose
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
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Ian McEwan studied at the University of Sussex, where he received a BA degree in English Literature in 1970 and later 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 Rites; the Whitbread Novel Award (1987) and
...more

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