Thursday, May 17, 2012

Reflections: Saturday

Adam C. Zern opines on Ian McEwan's Saturday:

"Some books are truly unforgettable.  A few that comes to mind are Leon Uris's Exodus, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, John Gardner's Freddy's Book, Ayn Rand's Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Joseph Cambpell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and I could name many others.  There are other books that are completely forgettable, which is why I have no desire to list them here.  I think Ian McEwan's Saturday will become one of those books.

The front and back cover of the book is filled with praise from reputable, so they say, sources.  I was hopeful the book would be as good as its biggest fans were saying.  I'm still on the look-out for a great, a truly great, contemporary work of literature.  I don't think Saturday is it.

The prose is good but not stellar.  The characters are uninteresting; the narrative has potential but only comes about half-way to what it should have been.  The book at times felt like a fictional channel for the author to voice his non-fiction feelings.  All authors do this, of course, to a certain extent.  But it doesn't have to feel like they're doing it.  They give their characters the ability to voice thoughts and opinions.  In Saturday, it feels like the characters are a shortcut to expression for the author.

I will forget Saturday.  It had a good line here and there, but it didn't give me what I wanted—what I'll remember—which is greatness.  So the contemporary literature curse continues, and I'll go back to what I know to be great."