Jonathan sits before his reliable laptop, gathering his thoughts on how to begin a review of Ian McEwan's Saturday
. He has already made up his mind as to how he shall write this review, a mediocre attempt at emulating Mr McEwan's third-person, present-tense style, will suffice. Yet he struggles with the concept of how best to begin the review. Shall he mention the plot, the themes or the beautiful writing? He knows at this point that he will refer to why he talks as an omniscient narrator for this review yet he lacks words and ideas to allow him to begin. His fingers hover over the keyboard, waiting for inspiration in order to begin a review different from others previously attempted.
It comes to him now, he will open with a tale of how he came to be reading Saturday
. He smiles wryly, the smile sliding to the very corners of his mouth. He certainly had never planned to read the novel. He had not set a reservation for the novel nor had he picked up from the shelf Saturday
with the intention of reading it. He had believed the plain covered book to be a version of Ted Hughes' Birthday Letters
, compulsory reading for his literature course. It seems to him now so ironic that he could have grabbed Saturday
without realising that it was not a poetry collection, although it talks enough about that subject. Jonathan remembers back as to how he decided, upon realising his mistake, to read the novel. He had always intended to read some of Ian McEwan's work, Atonement being a particular novel he had considered, and the fact that the book was on the 1001 books-to-read-before-you-die list (now 1200+ books) convinced him he should actually read it.
And so he had read the book and he had found it entertaining. The prose, he considers, had been particularly beautiful in its simplicity. Though there had been far too many medical terms dished out by the author as unconstrained information. "Here", McEwan had said, "have 'neurologist', 'aneurysm', 'dopamine' and 'biopsy' to keep you company, I don't care whether you understand or care about such terms." Jonathan certainly did understand those terms, yet he wonders whether the way they were flung about would detract other thoughtful readers. Then there was also the matter as to whether other readers would care enough about a novel set on one single day. Would readers want to know about one man's solitary day left separated from the context of a single lifetime? Would other readers care enough about the prose and the entertaining aspects of the novel - would they care about neurosurgeon Henry Perowne and his family, his squash game, his home invasion?
Then, Jonathan questions, would they notice the themes of the novel? The ideas about how languages connect people. The suggestion that poetry could shape the lives about others and as an afterthought the connection between language and music through poetry. Would they see an idea about how our past deeds may come back to haunt us and how it is therefore important to question and challenge what we are doing in the moment? And would they see the idea of how a single day may be both everything and nothing in an individual's lifetime?
Jonathan stares at his laptop and then begins to write. He writes until he has completed his review. He writes until his thoughts are spread out before him like blood pouring from a wound. He looks then at what he has written and asks himself one more question. Have I informed everyone enough about what I think about this novel - that I like it and yet do not consider it a masterpiece - in order to make others consider at least reading this? He pauses for a moment, then he lets out a sigh. He has written a decent review he considers, let potential readers make the decision as to whether they will read this literary text. He scans his work once more and then directs his cursor to the single 'save' button.