Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Book Review: Saturday by Ian McEwan

I told a friend that I was reading this book and she was excited to learn that the actor from Moulon Rouge, Trainspotting, and the second (more embarrassing) Star Wars had written a novel. Sorry, wrong person. Ewan McGregor has written a book, but it's more of a diary of his around the world on a motorcycle experience. It was interesting and a fun read, but I wouldn't call him a writer any more that I do myself.

Saturday is written by the author that wrote Atonement, and The Innocent. He's actually got quite a few under his belt, and Amazon informs me that he just about to release another.

The non-ObiWan has crafted an entire book about one Saturday in the life of a British Neurosurgeon and his family. Had it not been recommended to me by a trusted friend I might not have made it past the morning wakeup and shower ritual - which took more than 50 pages.

While the day is extraordinary in some of the events that occur it is believable all the things he packs into his day off - including a couple consults at the hospital, a visit to his addled mum, and an unfortunate fender bender. All of this is set against the backdrop of a single day on the eve of the American's pushing ahead to invade Iraq. McEwan gives us two distinct opinions on the issue during a debate the main character holds in his kitchen. Published in 2006, but set in 2003 the good doctor speculates that the war will last a few weeks and it will be looked upon as a crowning achievement for the Americans.(oh well... he's an author not a seer)

I was content to read 20 pages on the way into work and 20 on the way home each day until yesterday when I hit the last 80 or so pages and I had to decide between finish reading in my car at the park and ride or zip home and finish it in bed. Safety won out and I finished last night at about 11:00 - (I'm not a slow reader didn't leave get home until almost 9 and spent an hour with my friend the tv. )

I must say that I'm glad I read it, as someone who wished they could write (not this stream of conscienceness stuff but weaving scenic metaphors and building suspense) it was enjoyable to observe McEwan's craft.

All that said... if you're going to only read one Ian McEwan book. it should be Atonement.

If you're going to read only one Ewan McGregor book it has to be Long Way Round.

May the force be with you.


Anonymous said...

Okay, you totally faked me out! Guess which link I clicked on first to see what his book looked like? Uh huh.

Peter the Cat said...

Do you ever finish a novel and suddenly think, hmm, instead of wasting all that time on a random story about how some imaginary brain surgeon spent part of his imaginary weekend, I could have read a work of nonfiction and actually learned something?

Well, you say, I learned about brain surgery! But in medical school, do you suppose they use textbooks on brain surgery or Obi-Wan's made-up book of brain surgery? Exactly. The former. I rest my case.