LEO TOLSTOY IN THE opening line of his great work, Anna Karenina, claims “All happy families are alike.” So why write about them? Readers have always had a fascination with families wrought with pain, revenge, betrayal, strife, murder, infidelity and the like. On the other hand, Ian McEwan creates a protagonist, Henry Perowne, whose happiness and contented family life is envious, while still leaving the fascination of the story intact. So what happens when everything in your private family life is so perfect and intact? Saturday more than attempts to answer this question.
Henry Perowne is a successful neurosurgeon, a modern man of science. He’s a reductionist, so human beings and the wonders of the mind like morality and love are derived from matter in the brain. The complex system of human beings is nothing but the sum of its parts. Perowne loathes literature, poetry and religion. He feels literature is disconnected from what is “real” life and sums everything up too neatly, and religion unhinges psychosis and cruelty as people live for the afterlife rather than the present.