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Saturday Signed Edition

3.2 out of 5 stars 280 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Chatto Bodley Head & Cape
  • ISBN-10: 0224076620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224076623
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (280 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,796,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The critical response to Saturday must be making Ian McEwan a very happy man (not that his virtually unassailable position as Britain’s leading novelist has been in doubt). While contemporaries (and rivals) Martin Amis and Will Self have had much more hit-or-miss records recently, each new McEwan novel gleans a host of plaudits, and Atonement has been generally hailed as his masterpiece. Saturday may not enjoy quite such acclaim, but it’s a remarkably accomplished piece of work, as richly drawn and characterised as anything he has written.

McEwan's protagonist is neurosurgeon Henry Perowne, a man comfortably ensconced in an enviable upper middle class existence. His wife is a successful newspaper lawyer, his daughter Daisy a budding poet. But as he wakes one Saturday morning and witnesses a plane accident through his window, he is not yet aware that this is a harbinger of a sustained assault on all that he holds dear. It’s a McEwan trademark to begin his novels with a striking or violent rupture of everyday existence, but this opening is a prelude to his most impressively sustained narrative yet. It’s the publication day of Henry’s daughter's poetry collection, but a chance encounter with a drunken trio emerging from a lap-dancing club ends violently, even as a march against the war in Iraq streams past nearby. And this encounter with the menacing Baxter, main antagonist of the group, is to have fateful consequences. As Saturday progresses, Henry is forced to examine every aspect of his life and beliefs, not least his attitude to the war.

Unlike many of his peers, McEwan is not content to reduce the issues of the war to simple opposition, in which Tony Blair is characterised as a war criminal. Henry has treated a victim of Saddam's brutality, and although a comic encounter with the Prime Minister himself is a highlight of the book, both Henry (and his creator) are obliged to consider the complex skein of the conflict from all sides. While there are missteps (the poetic daughter, Daisy, is thinly drawn), McEwan's invigorating and trenchant novel is an unmissable experience. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

" Dazzling. . . . Powerful. . . . McEwan has shown how we . . . live today." - "The New York Times"
" Finely wrought and shimmering with intelligence." - "The New York Times Book Review"
" McEwan is supremely gifted. . . . "Saturday "is a tightly wound tour de force." - "The Washington Post Book World"
" This extraordinary book is not a political novel. It is a novel about consciousness that illuminates the sources of politics." - "The Nation"
" "Saturday" is an exemplary novel, engrossing and sustained. It is undoubtedly McEwan's best." - "The Spectator"
" Read the last 100 pages at one sitting- the pace and the thrill allow it. . . . Exhilarating." - "Los Angeles Times Book Review"
" Virtuosic. . . . Brilliantly macabre and suspenseful. . . . [A] fine novel." - "The Wall Street Journal"
" McEwan is in the first tier of novelists writing in English today. . . . He has achieved a complete mastery of his craft." - "The New York Observer"
" This is McEwan at the height of his powers. . . . More audacious than "Atonement."" - "The Baltimore Sun"
" In "Saturday, "the marvelously gifted Ian McEwan turns a single day into nearly twenty-four hours emblematic of an entire era." - "Chicago Tribune"
" One of the most powerful pieces of post-- 9/11 fiction yet published." - "The New York Times"
" Complex, suspenseful. . . . This novel . . . reinforces Ian McEwan's status as the supreme novelist of his generation." - "The Sunday Times "(London)
" Engrossing. . . . A thoughtful, measured and mature look at our world today. . . . [McEwan' s] skill at weaving together suspense, psychological depth and beautiful prose makes him among Britain's best." - "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution"
" A major event. . . . "Saturday "proceeds serenely into very different territory where the most secure existence is ringed by sinister possibilities." - "Time"
" Thoroughly fascinating. . . . For sheer intelligence and skill, it's hard to beat Ian McEwan's "Saturday."" - "The Philadelphia Inquirer"
" Impeccable. . . . Beautifully crafted. . . . Fluid, richly textured. . . . Engrossing." - "Entertainment Weekly"
" Read this book. . . . On the level of the sentence, McEwan is smart, witty and insightful. . . . His writing astounds. . . . "Saturday "is almost too good to bear." - "The Times-Picayune"
" Utterly enthralling. . . . Stunningly orderly and harmonious." - "The Seattle Times"
" Magnificently imagined." - "San Francisco Chronicle"
" A brilliant work. . . . Astoundingly enjoyable." - "O, The Oprah Magazine"
" McEwan's special achievement . . . is not only to give his narrative . . . near-hallucinatory clarity and verisimilitude, but also to make you realize that the world of his novel is our world. It's a book of poignant insight into the temper of the times. . . . And it's something rare and precious: a wise book." - "San Jose Mercury News"
" Hypnotic. . . .Exquisitely detailed, rich and suspenseful, literate and surprisingly explosive." - "The Miami Herald"
" McEwan's sentences are perfect, and his novels are always powerful and intelligent." - "People"
" Sober yet scintillating. . . . Lucidly shows us that civilization and culture and the life of the mind, fragile as they seemingly are, nonetheless have a resilience that can outlast barbarism." - Christopher Hitchens, "The Atlantic Monthly"
" A magnificent new novel that captures both the comforts and the anxieties of the world we live in right now." - "Vogue"
" The distinctive achievement of McEwan's work has been to marry literary seriousness and ambition with a pace and momentum more commonly associated with genre fiction. He is the master clockmaker of novelists, piecing together cogs and wheels of his plots with unerring meticulousness." - "The New York Times Book Review"
" Marvelous. . . . A magical book. . . . McEwan shows again the quiet brilliance of his prose and his insights." - "Detroit Free Press"
" Captivating. . . . The prose is so precise and evocative the reader can ' see' the scenes unfolding. . . . [McEwan] is at the top of his game." - "The Denver Post"

"Dazzling. . . . Powerful. . . . McEwan has shown how we . . . live today." -"The New York Times""Finely wrought and shimmering with intelligence." -"The New York Times Book Review""McEwan is supremely gifted. . . . "Saturday "is a tightly wound tour de force." -"The Washington Post Book World""This extraordinary book is not a political novel. It is a novel about consciousness that illuminates the sources of politics." -"The Nation"""Saturday" is an exemplary novel, engrossing and sustained. It is undoubtedly McEwan's best." -"The Spectator""Read the last 100 pages at one sitting-the pace and the thrill allow it. . . . Exhilarating." -"Los Angeles Times Book Review""Virtuosic. . . . Brilliantly macabre and suspenseful. . . . [A] fine novel." -"The Wall Street Journal""McEwan is in the first tier of novelists writing in English today. . . . He has achieved a complete mastery of his craft." -"The New York Observer""This is McEwan at the height of his powers. . . . More audacious than "Atonement."" -"The Baltimore Sun""In "Saturday, "the marvelously gifted Ian McEwan turns a single day into nearly twenty-four hours emblematic of an entire era." -"Chicago Tribune""One of the most powerful pieces of post--9/11 fiction yet published." -"The New York Times""Complex, suspenseful. . . . This novel . . . reinforces Ian McEwan's status as the supreme novelist of his generation." -"The Sunday Times "(London)"Engrossing. . . . A thoughtful, measured and mature look at our world today. . . . [McEwan's] skill at weaving together suspense, psychological depth and beautiful prose makes him among Britain's best." -"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution""A major event. . . . "Saturday "proceeds serenely into very different territory where the most secure existence is ringed by sinister possibilities." -"Time""Thoroughly fascinating. . . . For sheer intelligence and skill, it's hard to beat Ian McEwan's "Saturday."" -"The Philadelphia Inquirer""Impeccable. . . . Beautifully crafted. . . . Fluid, richly textured. . . . Engrossing." -"Entertainment Weekly""Read this book. . . . On the level of the sentence, McEwan is smart, witty and insightful. . . . His writing astounds. . . . "Saturday "is almost too good to bear." -"The Times-Picayune""Utterly enthralling. . . . Stunningly orderly and harmonious." -"The Seattle Times""Magnificently imagined." -"San Francisco Chronicle""A brilliant work. . . . Astoundingly enjoyable." -"O, The Oprah Magazine""McEwan's special achievement . . . is not only to give his narrative . . . near-hallucinatory clarity and verisimilitude, but also to make you realize that the world of his novel is our world. It's a book of poignant insight into the temper of the times. . . . And it's something rare and precious: a wise book." -"San Jose Mercury News""Hypnotic. . . . Exquisitely detailed, rich and suspenseful, literate and surprisingly explosive." -"The Miami Herald""McEwan's sentences are perfect, and his novels are always powerful and intelligent." -"People""Sober yet scintillating. . . . Lucidly shows us that civilization and culture and the life of the mind, fragile as they seemingly are, nonetheless have a resilience that can outlast barbarism." -Christopher Hitchens, "The Atlantic Monthly""A magnificent new novel that captures both the comforts and the anxieties of the world we live in right now." -"Vogue""The distinctive achievement of McEwan's work has been to marry literary seriousness and ambition with a pace and momentum more commonly associated with genre fiction. He is the master clockmaker of novelists, piecing together cogs and wheels of his plots with unerring meticulousness." -"The New York Times Book Review""Marvelous. . . . A magical book. . . . McEwan shows again the quiet brilliance of his prose and his insights." -"Detroit Free Press""Captivating. . . . The prose is so precise and evocative the reader can 'see' the scenes unfolding. . . . [McEwan] is at the top of his game." -"The Denver Post"

Dazzling. . . . Powerful. . . . McEwan has shown how we . . . live today. "The New York Times" Finely wrought and shimmering with intelligence. "The New York Times Book Review" McEwan is supremely gifted. . . . "Saturday "is a tightly wound tour de force. "The Washington Post Book World" This extraordinary book is not a political novel. It is a novel about consciousness that illuminates the sources of politics. "The Nation" "Saturday" is an exemplary novel, engrossing and sustained. It is undoubtedly McEwan s best. "The Spectator" Read the last 100 pages at one sitting the pace and the thrill allow it. . . . Exhilarating. "Los Angeles Times Book Review" Virtuosic. . . . Brilliantly macabre and suspenseful. . . . [A] fine novel. "The Wall Street Journal" McEwan is in the first tier of novelists writing in English today. . . . He has achieved a complete mastery of his craft. "The New York Observer" This is McEwan at the height of his powers. . . . More audacious than "Atonement." "The Baltimore Sun" In "Saturday, "the marvelously gifted Ian McEwan turns a single day into nearly twenty-four hours emblematic of an entire era. "Chicago Tribune" One of the most powerful pieces of post 9/11 fiction yet published. "The New York Times" Complex, suspenseful. . . . This novel . . . reinforces Ian McEwan s status as the supreme novelist of his generation. "The Sunday Times "(London) Engrossing. . . . A thoughtful, measured and mature look at our world today. . . . [McEwan s] skill at weaving together suspense, psychological depth and beautiful prose makes him among Britain s best. "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" A major event. . . . "Saturday "proceeds serenely into very different territory where the most secure existence is ringed by sinister possibilities. "Time" Thoroughly fascinating. . . . For sheer intelligence and skill, it s hard to beat Ian McEwan s "Saturday." "The Philadelphia Inquirer" Impeccable. . . . Beautifully crafted. . . . Fluid, richly textured. . . . Engrossing. "Entertainment Weekly" Read this book. . . . On the level of the sentence, McEwan is smart, witty and insightful. . . . His writing astounds. . . . "Saturday "is almost too good to bear. "The Times-Picayune" Utterly enthralling. . . . Stunningly orderly and harmonious. "The Seattle Times" Magnificently imagined. "San Francisco Chronicle" A brilliant work. . . . Astoundingly enjoyable. "O, The Oprah Magazine" McEwan s special achievement . . . is not only to give his narrative . . . near-hallucinatory clarity and verisimilitude, but also to make you realize that the world of his novel is our world. It s a book of poignant insight into the temper of the times. . . . And it s something rare and precious: a wise book. "San Jose Mercury News" Hypnotic. . . . Exquisitely detailed, rich and suspenseful, literate and surprisingly explosive. "The Miami Herald" McEwan s sentences are perfect, and his novels are always powerful and intelligent. "People" Sober yet scintillating. . . . Lucidly shows us that civilization and culture and the life of the mind, fragile as they seemingly are, nonetheless have a resilience that can outlast barbarism. Christopher Hitchens, "The Atlantic Monthly" A magnificent new novel that captures both the comforts and the anxieties of the world we live in right now. "Vogue" The distinctive achievement of McEwan s work has been to marry literary seriousness and ambition with a pace and momentum more commonly associated with genre fiction. He is the master clockmaker of novelists, piecing together cogs and wheels of his plots with unerring meticulousness. "The New York Times Book Review" Marvelous. . . . A magical book. . . . McEwan shows again the quiet brilliance of his prose and his insights. "Detroit Free Press" Captivating. . . . The prose is so precise and evocative the reader can see the scenes unfolding. . . . [McEwan] is at the top of his game. "The Denver Post"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It was surprising to find so many 1- and 2-star reviews here at Amazon. "Saturday" has a lot going for it. Much has been made of the technical impressiveness of McEwan's prose; his meticulous research into multiple topics; the attention to detail in the stream-of-conciousness narration of the central character, whose constantly calculating approach to life seemed entirely fitting for a brain surgeon (sorry, "neurosurgeon").

I found the meditations on the state of society and current affairs of 2003 particularly satisfying. One of the best sections was the argument between Daisy and Henry about the rationale for the Iraq war, youthful moral absolutism on the one hand and sloppy pragmatic consequentialism on the other. (My own position on this issue has oscillated between the two over the last six years.) There were some gripping moments (I won't spoil things by going into detail) and, perhaps, some clever allegorical points being made - invasive brain surgery being contrasted with invasive military action, for example. And I'm pretty sure that learning how Henry thinks has, in a small way, changed how I think, for the better.

On the other hand, it was equally surprising to find serious critics absolutely bowled over by this novel; words like "dazzling" and "stunning" seem to crop up a lot in reviews. They all seem to ignore the novel's most obvious flaw: a family of uniformly high achievers will not only be not particularly likeable, but, when the achievements are *this* impressive, almost certain not to exist.
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Format: Paperback
Saturday is a day in the life of Henry Perowne, a Fitzrovia Square dwelling neurosurgeon. The book follows an eventful day in his life, describing & detailing every thought he has about his surroundings, family, coworkers and generally his life. When a minor traffic accident brings unwelcome elements into his life, his diurnal evaluations will count for nothing as a series of coincidences threaten his very way of life.

For the first 30 pages I was absolutely captivated by this book, a simple description of Henry waking up in the middle of the night to a state of uncanny alertness and feeling a compulsion to walk to the window, only to see a burning jet making an emergency landing into Heathrow was simply magical.

The rest of the book follows suit well, but doesn't recapture the initial hypnosis. McEwan's writing style makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck sometimes. The characters are well fleshed out as often trivial events in Henry's life trigger a spiral into introspective asides detailing his past and his feelings towards the components of his existence. As a result you get to understand the inner workings of Henry's mind, what propels, feeds and most importantly, drives him. The book is set in 2003's London, on the day of the anti-Iraq-war protests and the vivid descriptions of his meanderings around Charlotte, Gower & University Street are true to life, a great touch to an already great book if you know the area.

It is after we have gained a very comprehensive grasp of who Henry is that he is thrown into turmoil and you read with baited breath waiting to see whether he will live upto your expectations of the character. Simply electric reading, I struggled to put this book down. If you are new to Ian McEwan this is as good a place to start as any, I am hooked and would recommend this book to anyone!!
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Format: Paperback
This is my third McEwan, and I'm still relatively new to him, but what Atonement (which I enjoyed), Enduring Love (which I enjoyed apart from Jed's overly verbose letters) and Saturday have in common is their stunning prose. Let's forget about plots for a second, and just indulge ourselves in sentence after sentence of pure style, grace and elegance. McEwan is supremely eloquent; surely one of the finest British writers writing now, and Saturday is a genuine pleasure to read.

McEwan, and contemporary literary fiction generally, isn't big on plot at the moment. If you're looking for that, you'll be disappointed. What McEwan does do well is in the detail, and he does it brilliantly in Saturday, opening up the brain of his neurosurgeon protagonist, and letting his thoughts pour out. When you read this novel, you aren't being told a story, you are simply imbibing the thoughts of one man, one Saturday.

Plotless, the novel isn't though. Enough happens on this Saturday, from the early morning plane on fire, to the minor car crash and the final knife-wielding consequences (which reminded me a lot of Enduring Love), to keep the reader moving. Our protagonist's own sense of unease gently piles on the pressure, with brief respites for jazz and cooking. Interesting that the climax of the nameless foreboding that hangs around this self-consciously post 9-11 novel, with the bursting of Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein and terrorism into our cultural consciousness, eventually materialises in the opportunist Baxter and his sidekick.

Those who lambaste the pages devoted to the squash game have missed the point. This whole section is a study of the competitive nature of an individual - the tension so palpable that I found my own heartbeat pounding with empathy.
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