Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saturday - Ian McEwan

By: Ian McEwan
Published: 2005
Audiobook Read by: Steven Crossley
My rating: Interesting

This was another random draw from the shelves. I have been attempting to broaden my horizons from my normal mysteries, suspense and science fiction, and this was a successful deviation for me.

Henry Perowne has everything he desires in life, a wonderful wife, two well adjusted children, a fulfilling carreer, and all the material possessions he desires. He wakes up early one Saturday morning not knowing that over the next 24 hours, his entire outlook on life will be brought into question. The day starts out with him witnessing an airplane, on fire, attempting to land. He has no idea what happened to it until he later hears the story on the news. That event clues him in that this will not be a normal day. As the day progresses, he faces various challenges, each having an impact on his view of life. When fate puts him in the way of Baxter, a man suffering from Huntington's, he has to make some truly tough decisions that might end up putting his family in serious peril. No matter how obnoxious Baxter might be, the doctor in Henry wants to try to help him through the hell his disease is about to put him through. He has compassion on this shell of a man who is trying to hold onto his manhood by taking advantage of those who are weaker than himself. Henry knows that the disease is the cause of a lot of his anger and violence but knows there is nothing he can do about it.

Typically I am not a fan of the "day in the life of" novels. There is normally way to much detail and not enough substance to the plot. This one however, was different. There was indeed a ton of detail, some of which was totally irrelevant, but the style of the book kept me interested. Much of the book is Henry's thoughts on whatever he is experiencing and the deviations his mind takes as his circumstances draw forth memories of the past. I was amused at the accuracy with which Ian portrays the workings of the human brain and how a train of thought can be so easily sent down a sidetrack.

The setting of the book is London about a year and a half after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. There is an extended scene that details an argument about whether war should be declared on Iraq or not. I was impressed by how well Ian articulates both sides of the debate and really gives no true feeling for his own view on the matter. Both sides were delivered with valid logic and well thought out reasoning that would give anyone food for thought no matter what side they may be on. It was very interesting to hear these arguments retrospectively, already knowing what the outcome would be.

I listened to the audiobook read by Steven Crossley. He has a very pleasant voice and I enjoyed his performance very much.

Overall, I simply have to rate this book as interesting. There wasn't a lot of action really but it was a look inside the head of one man and allows us to walk around in his shoes for a day. It wasn't a book that pinned me to the edge of my seat but I did enjoy it. I had to add this new rating to place it in since the others just weren't right.


  1. Ah of my faves. I read this book a while back and really enjoyed it. If you're ever up for reading another from McEwan, try Atonement. It's in my top five favorite books of all times. :)

  2. It was very different from what I was expecting but in a good way. I have determined to try at least two books from each author so I'll have to get Atonement. I have Three Rivers Rising sitting on the shelf now waiting it's turn. We'll see how I like that one! :)

  3. I tend to like books where we get a lot of thoughts from people. For me, there's way too much action in most books. This one isn't one of my genres, but it does sound interesting, as you say.

  4. You certainly get to find out Henry's thoughts in this one. He has some beautiful thoughts about his relationship to his wife and children.

  5. I haven't read any Ian McEwan yet, but I've had Atonement sitting on my shelf for about two years now. Time to dust it off and open it, methinks.

  6. I've got Atonement on hold at the library now. We'll have to compare notes when we've both finished it! :)