Thoughts  Saturday by Ian McEwan, Anchor Books 2005, 291 pages

FOR:  Just another one for the calendar category of BethFishReads’ What’s In a Name 5 Challenge?  [I’m still searching for the fits-in-a-pocket category, just sayin’.]

BECAUSE:  I have some kind of crush on Ian McEwan. Because I like books that are set entirely within a 24 hours period. Because I heard somewhere that McEwan wrote this as his take on Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and I loved that book. But do know —  I did not like Mrs. Dalloway upon my first reading. I adored it on my second reading. It sold me on the value of re-reading. I used to never re-read books. I give a ton of credit to a few of you bloggers who love to re-read and have expressed your dismay that I never did. So… Thank you. I hope you know who you are. (ok, I’ll send you a poke/link/tweet to make sure!)

CREDIT DUE:  to FizzyJill. FizzyJill was not so enamored by this book and apparentlly not by all that is IMcE. I do not judge her nor fault her but only thank her for buying this book, reading it, posting on it, and then sending it on to me because I begged her to. She even included $5 and change* to thank me for taking it off her hands!  Crazy chick. *SMILES*


FIRST SENTENCE:  “Some hours before dawn Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, wakes to find himself already in motion, pushing back the covers from a sitting position, and then rising to his feet.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Henry wakes early on a day that is officially a day off but  is full of stuff that has to be done because his daughter and father-in-law are flying into town.

We are privileged to be IN HIS HEAD with almost every thought. How much he loves his wife, reminiscing of how they met, why he chose neurology, how much he enjoys his work. We learn how conflicted he is about politics; what to think about the world and terrorism and poverty vs. wealth. He visits his mother who is far gone in terms of old age senility. We participate in a squash game and feel the competitiveness and loathing of what aging does to our bodies in term of keeping up to what we want to do, what we used to do. He thinks about his kids and reflects on his childhood. Are we smarter in ‘middle-age’? Do we settle for life as we know it, lose our ambition or ability to dream, or do we end up living lives within the constructs of the possible futures of our children? Weighed against what our parents were able to accomplish? Are our entire lives a question? Is the answer eternally elusive because the parameters keep changing.

I should mention that he has a minor crash in his Mercedes and thus meets some loathsome characters. He cooks dinner but it gets interrupted. I would have loved his fish stew and crusty bread and red wine.

Feel free to read Softdrink’s review and wonder if I’m saying anything different. Except I LOVED IT. I knew I would love it and I relish the questioning quizzing of how I would know I would love it and yet not be disappointed by over-expecting? Life is just odd. Play along.

I’m still in love with IMcE.

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

WHY NOT FIVE?  I rolled my eyes just a few times with the predictableness of the story. It’s not what happens; it’s how McEwan describes what happens.

RECOMMENDED TO:  Those who love London and recognize streets and landmarks. I’ve never been but it was heavy on the London setting. Those who love being in a character’s head. Those who love books set in a single day. Those who have a crush on Ian McEwan.

* Softdrink didn’t really send me any money. But she offered! But then realized I am truly a bit insane with my IMcE crush so paying me to take this book off of her hands was entirely unnecessary.


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29 thoughts on “Saturday

  1. I listened to Saturday as an audiobook. It was definitely not my favorite of Ian McEwan’s books, but I did like it, apart from the enormous unlikelihood of one part of the plot.

    1. Listening to this on audio would be tough, I think. It is so easy to wander off the thoughts into my own thought-territory and would probably have to hit replay often!

    1. Oh yes! And why I like to read dissenting opinions of a book and why I can still like a blogger and think I will never like the books they read. Which is not always the case with Miss JillyFizz but I sometimes know what I like and what she will not.

  2. You got me! I was about to ask FizzyJill what book I could take off her hands (along with change). 😉 Kidding.

    Ok, I’ll have to try this one again when I’m not so braindead. I must have read that first page a MILLION times before moving on to something a little lighter. I didn’t read your section about what this book is about but I did see what you said about Mrs. Dalloway. Please tell me you’ve read (and loved) The Hours.

    1. Yes, I read The Hours. I read Mrs. Dalloway and then read The Hours and then went to see the movie The Hours as part of a (pre-blogging) personal project.

  3. But I love London! I didn’t get much of a sense of it from the book, though. Maybe that’s ’cause I’ve never worked there? You should sail over for a visit. 😉

    1. Really? While he’s driving around and also looking out his window? OK. I really got curious and sad that I didn’t know the streets and layout of London to travel along with him. But it also is something that Woolf did in Mrs. D.

    1. Well, I hope these are good enough reasons! 😀 He mentions many road and street names but the only one that really strikes a chord with me (since I’ve never visited) was Charing Cross Road.

  4. I read one a long time ago. I remember liking it, but my book club did not. So many people take issue with McEwan. He writes with too much detail, they say. I don’t find that to be a problem, actually.

    1. Welcome! I think Atonement is his most famous book – probably because the movie, but Saturday is shorter. If you care about that. (I do.)

  5. I think I have a copy of this somewhere around here. I need to find it and read it especially since I’ve never read anything by McEwan before.

  6. Okay, this book has been on my shelves and TBR list FOREVER. And I skimmed enough of this review to know that I must read it now. I ❤ Ian McEwan. 🙂

  7. i think ian mcewan is my literary boyfriend. his books are so good!!! 🙂 i haven’t read this one yet but i will have to!

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