BJS Bookshelf: Saturday
25 November 2022
Why should surgeons only read textbooks? Saturday is a novel; a book that is just for entertainment. It is an engaging but tense book with some uncomfortable themes. The central character is Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, who lives in London. McEwan credits Neil Kitchen, a neurosurgeon from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen’s Square, for the insights into the profession. He does a convincing job describing the emotions and actions of a typical surgeon. I’m not going to spoil the story, but it is about how a stable and otherwise apparently sensible man manages after meeting a sinister and troubled young man called Henry Baxter.
Why surgeons should read this book:
Although it is not McEwan’s most acclaimed book, it is a gripping book that has resonance for those with a surgical mindset. More of you will be familiar with Atonement, his famous early work later turned into a movie. Saturday was written in 2006, so its themes also include the Iraq war, which was ongoing at the time. Saturday is instantly familiar, and McEwan does a great job describing the thoughts and feelings of a surgeon outside his normal environment, and how he copes (or doesn’t) with adversity. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, McEwan has written a dozen books, all of which are of interest, although I personally enjoyed the earlier works (Atonement, Amsterdam) more than his more recent fiction.
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