Saturday (Contd.)

I suffer from a case of ‘let’s publish this NOW’ syndrome. After hitting the button, I realized I have quite a few things to add to my last post. Here goes:

Perowne’s character is easy to relate to for many reasons. He is ambitious, and has worked hard to achieve his successes. However, perhaps in keeping with the so called ‘liberal way’, at critical moments, he feels almost ashamed of his own achievements. Was he right to use his medical knowledge to get out of a beating? When I think about it now, I realize that of course he was. If your professional training does not help you get out of a sticky situation, of what use is it? Watching a possible drug addict from his window, Perowne wonders what made this young lady turn into an addict, even as he waits for the arrival of another young lady who is having her first book of poetry published.

I loved that part. Because, of late, I do seem to keep reminding myself of how lucky I’ve been. Lucky to be an Indian, and not a Somalian, lucky to have born into a Tamil family on one side of a narrow stretch of salty water, than the other. Lucky to have had a childhood characterized by the complete absence of guns, starvation and disease. Lucky to be literate. Lucky to have a job. A seemingly endless list of things about which my opinions swing between heartfelt gratitude and ennui. To read Saturday is to realize that this internal pendulum apparently isn’t yours alone.

There were too many instances where it felt incredibly easy to replace Perowne with myself. Perhaps it just helps my ego to imagine myself as being anything like Perowne; after all, he’s made it. A flourishing career, loving wife, children who’re not only incredibly talented, but also genuinely nice, a home in London, a soon to be inherited château in France… Yes, he certainly has it all. And what’s so bad about wanting all that? At 15, it was easy to imagine myself in any number of characters’ shoes, be it Scarlett O’Hara or Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Frank. At 27, the task has become more challenging. You’re jaded, you think you know yourself more, and worse, you think you know how most things work, even if you’re yet to experience them personally. Saturday let me day dream like I haven’t in a long time.

Sure, the climax felt contrived, but after 250 pages of utterly beautiful writing, who cares?

Updated verdict: Read Saturday. Read it now, before the world changes. Read it now before you do, too.

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3 comments so far

  1. Karthik on

    Now I _have_ to read it. Everyone that’s read Saturday has had good things to say about it – wonder why it got left out of the shortlist. If contrived endings were the yardstick, then Never Let Me Go shouldn’t be anywhere near the top 6…

  2. DoZ on

    Although the only other book I’ve read from the long list is Never Let Me Go, Saturday’s being left out did surprise me. But being a loyal Ishiguro fan, I have decided that Ishiguro did not take the one spot that should have gone to Saturday.
    Somehow, I can’t help thinking that had Saturday been written by an American, it would’ve probably won the Pulitzer… But that’s what I love about the Brits – that they apparently don’t always do the obvious.

  3. Karthik on

    I will reserve comments till I read it 🙂


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