I am not a McEwan newbie. Saturday is the 4th of his books I have read and, thus far, my least favourite. But even though I didn’t love this book, I would still have to praise McEwan’s ability to write. If I have a criticism of Saturday it’s that it’s over-written. That may be the fault of McEwan’s decision to set the novel in one day in the life of neurosurgeon, Henry Perowne.
Saturday is Henry’s favourite day. He plays squash, does some shopping and on this particular Saturday- anticipates the homecoming of his daughter, Daisy. But, of course, this Saturday isn’t going to be like all the others. He awakens in the middle of the night and watches from his bedroom window as a plane- streaming fire, cuts across the sky to (crash, he assumes) land at Heathrow.
This event wouldn’t be the cause of so much concern if this story wasn’t set post 9/11 and on the very day when hundreds of thousands on people are set to march in London’s streets to protest the war against Iraq.
As Henry sets out to accomplish his long list of things to do before his daughter arrives he gets into a minor fender bender that will propel (although not quickly) the book towards its denouement. Whether or not you find the ending, or the book for that matter, satisfying, will depend on how much you care for Henry and the minutia of his Saturday.