August 1, 2009 by Michelle
I picked this book up when I was looking for Atonement, by the same author. There was so much buzz going on around Atonement, I thought I would have a look. But as I’m heavily dependent on libraries for my literary food, I couldn’t find Atonement, and so settled for Saturday.
I have to say that I was not to be disappointed by the book at all.
Basically, the story revolves around Henry Perowne and a particular Saturday in his lifetime. The story starts when he wakes up suddenly on a Saturday morning, long before the sun rises, and ends a few hours just before dawn the next day. Everything that happens in between is what makes up the plot.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the story is a mundane one. Though it may be slow moving at parts, the storytelling is one that is strong and engaging. As we are made intelligent of the thoughts in Henry’s head, we are also brought to his past when he brings up his memories. We are allowed glimpses of his thoughts on issues like September 11 and Saddam Hussein. We are even given the privilege of knowing how he feels about his children, his relationship with his mother and father-in-law, and how he fell in love with his wife.
I think there are some very powerful messages within the story. The series of events on this particular day almost has nothing to do with it being a Saturday, but has all to do with what happened in one moment during the day, and how it affects a person and his/her thoughts throughout the day. Not only does one event lead on to another, but even mere thoughts form a huge influence in how our day goes. There is almost a subtle emphasis on how much our thoughts alone shape our lives.
The plot might have been lost once or twice on me, because the central character, Henry, had a tendency of going off to a random distance with his thoughts. But other than this minor detail, I found the book interesting enough. And even though the entire story covered only one single day’s events, the story was told in such a way that it kept me turning the pages, wanting to know how the day ends for Henry.
Conclusion: If this is what an Ian McEwan book is like, I think I’d like to try another one some time soon. Atonement is now officially a book that I want to try in the near future.