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"Saturday" by Ian McEwan


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#1 dirac

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 05:06 PM

I have not started this yet, but some time ago we had a lively thread about "Atonement" and so if anyone has checked out this one, please post about it. The reviews are very favorable, with a couple of exceptions.

#2 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 04:37 PM

I have not started this yet, but some time ago we had a lively thread about "Atonement" and so if anyone has checked out this one, please post about it.  The reviews are very favorable, with a couple of exceptions.

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Life is short - no, life is ONCE; use your time wisely and read something else. Reread Atonement if you must have more McEwan, but don't bother with this one. The book contains some expertly done and even moving passages (the protagonist's visit with his mother, who is suffering from dementia is one), but the characters are purest cardboard, the sentiments expressed largely pedestrian (war is bad but dictators are bad, too), and many of the plot elements implausible or baldly sentimental. As examples: certain violence is averted at the last minute by the recitation of Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach"; the predator is saved by his intended prey. Really. At first I thought the book might be setting up the careful dismemberment of a certain sort of bourgeois self-absorption and self-satisfaction, but alas, no. A ripple of possessive joy at the glimpse of one's merc (or is it BMW -- I forget -- but it has creamy white leather seats) as it sits glowing in an idyllic country scene is a apparently wholly laudible thing. Ditto the thrill of switching on the lights in one's lovingly restored and tastefully appointed townhouse. (If this stuff was presented ironically, I sure missed it.) I had much the same reaction to this book that I did to Woody Allen's Interiors many years ago: I was stunned to discover that I was supposed to take the main characters and their concerns seriously.

May I recommend Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell instead? (It would make a fabulous ballet, by the way ...)

#3 dirac

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 10:26 AM

Thanks, Kathleen. There are a few reviewers out there who've made similar objections to yours, amid the praise. I hope to report soon.


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