Saturday takes place during the course of a single day, but so much happens that it's easy to forget until you've come to the end and can sit back and reflect on it. The novel follows Henry Perowne, a successful neurosurgeon living a life of affluence and contentment in Central London, through a day that is anything but normal. A cascading series of events culminates in a heart-stopping climax of suspense and intrigue. McEwan paints these events against the background of post-9/11, pre-Iraq London in what appears to be a reflection of the wider political narrative.
McEwan is a writer of phenomenal quality and skill. His description of events is beautiful, without being flowery; the dialogue is always well-placed and believable. It's a fantastically enjoyable read. Beyond that, this is an interesting and thoughtful response to 9/11 and the subsequent focus on Iraq. The majority of literary responses have, unsurprisingly, come from America, so to see a British perspective on this world-changing event is refreshing. Some have criticized it as too cold and clinical a response, but I disagree. The book takes a measured and intelligent look at the events, typical of McEwan's style.
I particularly enjoyed the inside peek into the life of a neurosurgeon, written so convincingly and realistically that you wonder if McEwan has a neuro background up his sleeve. In addition, I enjoyed the literary elements portrayed through the characters of Daisy and Grammaticus. I'd highly recommend Saturday, especially to those who enjoy a good read with an intelligent theme, a gripping story-line and characters with such depth you feel you know them.
Observer: His subject has always been damage and the way the darkest events in a life will drain the rest of love. For McEwan, happiness has rarely gone unpunished.
Guardian: One of the most oblique but also most serious contributions to the post-9/11, post-Iraq war literature, it succeeds in ridiculing on every page the view of its hero that fiction is useless to the modern world.
Independent: Its author's scrupulous application of his talent merits real gratitude from its readers. Saturday is distinguished by an intense literary imagination that is fundamentally scientific in its vision and its criteria.
Sunday Times: written with superb exactness, complex, suspenseful, reflective and humane, this novel about an expert on the human brain by an expert on the human mind reinforces his status as the supreme novelist of his generation