Worthy to be called literary art
by TealeTheSlowReader on November 2, 2007Every reader ought to care that McEwan is a master of psychological detail, a worthy successor of Henry James and Virginia Woolf. Of course a novel cannot exist by the merit of its virtuosity alone, and so, I was reading for plot and scene development. From the beginning, I could sense that the main character, Henry Perowne, was a kind of Everyman/Everywoman, and that, like him, we are all neurosurgeons in some way. The novel seems to be a grand metaphor; it works on the theme that if we want to solve today's primary global problem of violence, we've got to become better at diagnosing the impending doom, and then perform surgery more efficiently. And if we could become more skilled at this, then the Saddam Husseins of the world could find healing; and there would be fewer wars because we, the neurosurgeons, have become better people--or some such form of metaphor. It is clear to me that McEwan sees young people as playing a huge role in bringing enlightenment to the 50-somethings who have caused the world's problems: Perowne's son and daughter open his eyes to so much.
In the first fifty to a hundred pages, I found myself arguing with McEwan: Do people like Baxter really think this way? Could the author have done more with the character Rosalind? But what kept me reading, what makes Saturday un-putdown-able, was the tension the author creates. More than that, when I realized that McEwan was willing to investigate anything, give psychological details on anyone, I was frightened. The tension was excruciating. This author is willing to go anywhere! I absolutely had to find out what happened next. Then, I realized that fiction, like life, is rather simple, ordinary. Not everything explodes with a bang. Life, like fiction, can bring reflection.
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