Book Review: Saturday

Author: Ian McEwan

Publisher: Jonathan Cape

Copyright date: 2005

Pages: 308

Genre: Literary Fiction

Rating: A

Award Won: James Tait Black Memorial Prize, 2005


On February 15, 2003, Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, urbane, privileged, deeply in love with his wife and grown-up children, plans to play a game of squash, visit his elderly mother, and cook dinner for his family. But after a minor traffic accident leads to an unsettling confrontation, Perowne must set aside his plans and summon a strength greater than he knew he had in order to preserve the life that is dear to him.

My Thoughts:

What Ian McEwan did in this award-winning novel was so simple yet an act of genius. What he did was take a look at one day in the life of a good family man and balance it against the backdrop of political and cultural activities in London on that Saturday. This allowed the author to explore several issues.

This particular Saturday was the day of an anti-war protest against the Iraq war. As Henry compares his satisfaction with his past and current life, he feels that life has gradually changed after the events of 9/11. The world around him has become violent and unsettling. How can he keep his family at peace with chaos all around him?

This novel is a good evaluation of modern concerns. Of course, it’s beautifully written. My only [slight] complaint was the intensity of the main character’s thought process. After a while I was exhausted by it all. Saturday was quite thought provoking. I recommend it to anyone wishing to have your thoughts provoked.

About the Author:

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 the Prix Fémina Etranger (1993) for The Child in Time; and Germany’s Shakespeare Prize in 1999. He has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction numerous times, winning the award for Amsterdam in 1998. His novel Atonement received the WH Smith Literary Award (2002), National Book Critics’ Circle Fiction Award (2003), Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction (2003), and the Santiago Prize for the European Novel (2004). He was awarded a CBE in 2000. In 2006, he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel Saturday, and his novel On Chesil Beach was named Galaxy Book of the Year at the 2008 British Book Awards. McEwan has been named the Reader’s Digest Author of the Year for 2008, the 2010 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, and in 2011 was awarded the Jerusalem Prize.

McEwan lives in London. His new novel is Sweet Tooth. It will be published in late August by Jonathan Cape, in November by Doubleday and, first, in Brazil in July by Companhia das letras.”  (Photo and info from the author’s webpage.)

About Margot

I'm also known as Joyfully Retired. I love to talk. I love to talk about books I've read, movies I've seen, places I've traveled to, people (especially my children and grandchildren), and Food. On the Quirky Girls Read blog I'm trying to read all the books that have won the major awards and then, of course, talk about them.
This entry was posted in Award Winners, Fiction, Posts by Margot and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Book Review: Saturday

  1. BermudaOnion says:

    I do like to have my thoughts provoked from time to time so I’ll think about this one.

  2. I really love McEwan’s writing! Have this on my shelf (found it for $1 at the library book sale last summer) and hope to read it soon. So glad you enjoyed it, Margot.

  3. I do like this author’s writing…and the issues he explores help me examine some of my own.

    I’ve read Atonement and On Chesil Beach by this author, and have Amsterdam on my Kindle. Saturday sounds like one I should add!

  4. I almost grabbed this one from my local library yesterday. I like thought-provoking reads, right now I feel that is what I need. I can’t seem to get into any books lately, so i’m trying to pick up something I normally wouldn’t read. This sounds very interesting.

  5. hmsgofita says:

    I picked this one up at a second-hand store a year or so ago. I’ve been meaning to get to it. I need to now. Thanks for the great review!

  6. jennygirl says:

    Never read of his work but have wanted to ever since I saw Atonement. Guess I’ll have to just add all his books to my list.
    Thanks for a wonderful review Margot

  7. kaye says:

    my thoughts are too tired to be provoked right now–I’m tempted to abandon everything and lie down for a nap!

  8. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    I’ve read one of his books so far and will be coming back for more. This one sounds really intense and so interesting. I love it when an author can pull off something quite incredible and make it seem so effortless!

  9. stacybuckeye says:

    Atonement intimidated me, but I’ve been thinking this was ia a little more appealing

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