Saturday

Saturday is Ian McEwan's masterpiece published in 2005.

On one Saturday, February, 2003, the protagonist Henry Perowne, an excellent neurosurgeon, wakes up uneasily at 4:00 in the morning and finds an airplane breathing fire, approaching Heathrow. This prologue is implying the eerie day.

The huge anti-Iraq war demonstration is taking place on the day. Trying to avoid the crowds, Perowne has a minor accident with three blackguards. He notices that Baxter who is the leader of the blackguards contracted Huntington's disease and takes advantage of that in order to get through his danger. He hurt Baxter's pride.

After playing squash with his colleague and visiting his demented mother, he goes shopping for dinner, and goes home. Daisy, his daughter, fights over Iraq war with her father. She is against the Iraq war and he is against the Saddam regime.

His father-in-law comes to the family reunion. After that his son and his wife come home.  At that exact moment, Baxter intrudes into the house and lets the happy family into horror. In such a situation, the poem Daisy reads moves Baxter's heart...

In this book, you can find some contrasts. Perowne is a successful neurosurgeon, his wife is a lawyer for a newspaper, her father is a prestigious poet. Daisy is a young gifted poet and Teo, his son, is a gifted blues musician. On the other hand, Baxter is uneducated and has unhappy circumstances and the incurable hereditary illness, Huntington's disease. Baxter has no hope and it's not his fault. The lucky and the unlucky.

Perowne refers to the possibility of the treatment for Baxter's disease again. It's a lie, a tiny lie for saving his family. But it's a cruel lie for Baxter.

You can consider the Perowne family and Baxter as the metaphor of the UK and terrorists, such as Al-Qaeda.

The author successfully depicted the anxiety and fragility of British people after 9.11, with the present intractable antinomy through the elaborate plots and the depiction of Perowne's inside.

I read the Japanese version about two years ago. And this time I reread the original version.

Comments

  1. I don't know if you read a comment added to this old post, but anyway, I say I am glad you read this novel and liked it. I also read it some time ago and loved it enormously. It is extremely well-crafted story, a bit too well-crafted to the extent it may appear a bit artificial. Still it shows the precarious feelings people in UK have been feeling after 9/11 just as you wrote above. It shows the liberal humanism which a lot of the English middle class people still possess. Despite all the ugly things in the world, the novel gives me some hope. Yoshi

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    1. Thank you for your comment.

      In this novel, the conflict between Perowne and his daughter Daisy on the Iraq War was very interesting for me. Anyway, I like McEwan's works because I’m always impressed his intelligence and the solid structure.

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