Saturday, January 07, 2006

Haven't read enough about Ian McEwan's Saturday? Douglas Kennedy rereads 2005's most-discussed work of fiction and comes away claiming that "it is a first-rate example of serious popular fiction; one of those rare novels that still says more about the way we live now than many an arid dispatch from that dubious summit called High Art."

I read Saturday as part of my trawl through the Booker longlist, and at the time I thought it was a decent read, but nothing spesh. While my contention that it was something "bold and different" can probably be put down to Booker fatigue, there were certainly worse books on the longlist.

Since October, I have skimmed through it again one quiet afternoon at the library, thought about it some more, and concluded that Saturday is, if not a harbinger of the end of Western civilisation, then at least a remarkably over-rated book. Frankly, I'm starting to come around to John Banville's way of thinking:
Saturday is a dismayingly bad book. Are we in the West so shaken in our sense of ourselves and our culture, are we so disablingly terrified in the face of the various fanaticisms which threaten us, that we can allow ourselves to be persuaded and comforted by such a self-satisfied and, in many ways, ridiculous novel as this?”

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