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Kahane, C. (2007). Saturday by Ian McEwan New York: Doubleday, 2005, 289 pp.. Fort Da, 13(1):73-80.
(2007). Fort Da, 13(1):73-80
Saturday by Ian McEwan New York: Doubleday, 2005, 289 pp.
Reviewed by Claire Kahane, Ph.D.
Sleepless in the early hours, you make a nest out of your own fears.
Ian McEwan, Saturday, p. 40
“Terrorism” has become a familiar signifier of our post-9/11 consciousness, evoking an anticipation of something we dread and yet expect. Ian McEwan's Saturday is a novel that brilliantly reflects this post-traumatic state of mind, representing through the consciousness of its protagonist the psychological effects of living in a destabilizing surround of socio-political trauma. But more than that, McEwan cannily manipulates language for its uncanny potential to disturb the reader as well, while also offering us the pleasure of its poetic articulations.
Some hours before dawn Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, wakes to find himself already in motion, pushing back the covers from a sitting position, and then rising to his feet. (p. 1)
From the very first page, when the protagonist springs up from sleep at 3:40 a.m. for no apparent reason, something seems to have already happened, at least internally. As in a dream state, in which the dreamer watches himself in an unknown scenario, the sentence itself presents a character already doubled, split into subject and object, the subject-self observing the object-self already in motion, already moved by unknown forces outside of consciousness to an unknown end.
He has no idea what he's doing out of bed…. It's as if, standing there in the darkness, he's materialized out of nothing, fully formed, unencumbered. He doesn't feel tired, despite the hour or his recent labours, nor is his conscience troubled by any recent case. In fact, he's alert and inexplicably elated. (pp.
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