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Summary

Saturday, February 15, 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man - a successful neurosurgeon, the devoted husband of Rosalind and proud father of two grown-up children. Unusually, he wakes before dawn, drawn to the window of his bedroom and filled with a growing unease.

What troubles him as he looks out at the night sky is the state of the world - the impending war against Iraq, a gathering pessimism since 9/11, and a fear that his city and his happy family life are under threat.

Later, Perowne makes his way to his weekly squash game through London streets filled with hundreds of thousands of anti-war protestors. A minor car accident brings him into a confrontation with Baxter, a fidgety, aggressive, young man, on the edge of violence. To Perowne's professional eye, there appears to be something profoundly wrong with him.

Towards the end of a day rich in incident and filled with Perowne's celebrations of life's pleasures, his family gathers for a reunion. But with the sudden appearance of Baxter, Perowne's earlier fears seem about to be realised.

©2005 Ian McEwan (P)2014 (p) AudioGo Ltd. Published by Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about Saturday

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A formidable exercise in stream of consciousness

Excellent narration, slightly cliched with the voices of the crooks, but well suited to the protagonist and narrator. The story is a formidable exercise in stream of consciousness, and will thrill any reader of Joyce who enjoys contemporary literature

2 people found this helpful

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A good book

Ian McEwan always delivers a good story, this is definitely a good story. The narrator is easy to listen to. Not always the case I find.
Enjoyed it very much.

2 people found this helpful

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Flawless narration by James Wilby

A masterclass in narration as near perfect as I have heard. Fantastic novel brilliant examination of the minute details of a day.

1 person found this helpful

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Update

Any additional comments?

Rather than slate this book and it's story, let me tell you where I am with it, and you can make your own mind up.

So I am four hours into the book. The story is set in London, depicting a Saturday as experienced by a successful neurosurgeon, Henry. So far, in four hours, Henry has woken up from his bed in a weird dream like state, good downstairs for a drink of milk and had a chat with his teenage son, who also can't sleep. He was also staring out the window when he saw an aeroplane on fire heading for the runway. He wasn't seen anything on the news as yet.

He's made love to his wife. He is excited about his daughter coming to visit from Paris where she now lives. She likes literature and forces him to read more.

He left the house to go to work where he has just crashed his BMW into another motorist who was driving a BMW series 5...

...and thats it. I've decided not to listen to any more because the fact I am four hours into this book and so little has happened is enough for me to give up.

So there you have it. Love or hate this review; I have given you the facts. Ian Mckewan spent two years shadowing Mr kitchen, a brain surgeon (who operated on my mother in law's tumour) in London in order for him to be able to write this book. It was because of this that I wanted to give it a go.

Decide for yourself what you wish to do!

5 people found this helpful

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Yay. A McEwan protagonist who isn't a bastard!

Ian McEwan is one of my favourite writers but if I have a difficulty it's with the fact that he usually puts me in the company of horrible people, drawn in sickeningly believable detail. Those books are fascinating and exciting but what a pleasure it was to spend a day inside the head of a decent man. Henry Perowne is not a saint. Just mostly considerate, warm and loving. But most importantly, he's lucky and that very particular kind of lucky man who also has the good luck to be of grateful temperament. Someone who keeps savouring small routine pleasures.

It's almost like a kind of therapy, an exemplar for living gratefully while keeping it grounded and believable. Perowne is not walking around in constant bliss. Bad things happen and sometimes his mood has big dips without him being sure of why.

Quite apart from the rich textures of ideas on the political and experiential questions about what western middle class life is, it's simply a pleasure to be given a course in how to simply experience contentedness.

It is true that such a lucky, affluent man has much reason to be content but so many of McEwan's richer, more famous protagonists are inwardly wretched. And a theme of the book is Perowne continually reflecting on how easily he could have been in someone else's less fortunate position.

It becomes clear that a certain amount of comfort and love in one's life is important to be content but the things he loves the most are largely quite ordinary.

I expect I'll come back to this book when I need to be reminded that I don't need anything more than what I already have.

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A task

Lots of thinking and probing as tale is told. Now need time to think about Henry Perone character

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Beautifully written

But disjointed - there were so many very long ‘capillaries’ to this story regarding the personalities and lives of his family - and I kept wanting him to get back to what the actual plot was which was really pretty lame. The descriptions of for example a squash game was brilliant but unbelievably long and frustrating.

I sought this out like many readers I suspect who had been operated on by Neil Kitchen on whom the writer shadowed for research. But I struggled to finish it.

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Not a story but a diary

Not my kind of story. But I thought the narrative was excellent.
A bit boring but the ideas and thoughts of one man. On a Saturday that culminates in an event.

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Good book. Good Narrator

Liked but not loved. Good book. OK narrator. I've had better. Humphrey Bower who reads Bryce Courtenay books is much better. Actors can do accents and voices better.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-10-20

Intriguing drama

Well crafted story with interesting twist; character analysis added to the enjoyment of the book; very well narrated

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  • cate edwards
  • 05-07-15

In awe of such good writing

Smart, relevant, entertaining, my life is richer for finding such a good author. The narrator was perfect.