Bookplanet: McEwan talks to NY Times
'"Saturday" is Mr. McEwan's most autobiographical novel. Its protagonist is a successful and contented neurosurgeon named Henry Perowne, who resembles his creator in every respect save two--three if you count the medical degree, though Mr. McEwan said that he spent so much time researching operations that eventually, while in his scrubs, he was able to pass himself off as a brain surgeon to unsuspecting medical students. Henry Perowne also drives a far nicer car than Mr. McEwan's 12-year-old Saab, and he is tone deaf to literature. But he lives in Mr. McEwan's home, a Georgian townhouse in Fitzrovia, and he has two children and a beautiful wife who is a prominent newspaperwoman. He shares Mr. McEwan's taste in wine, his hobbies of cooking and playing squash. And his mother, suffering from dementia, is closely modeled on Mr. McEwan's own mother, though he has changed her from a former markswoman (she was an army wife) to a swimmer. "I had this idea of seeing how one could write a novel without having to invent everything," he said, explaining, "I suppose it had something to do with 9/11, but I wanted a sort of documentary quality. I wanted a feeling of what it was like in the early years of the 21st century." He added, "I wanted to get the right level of bafflement." Henry Perowne wonders, as the author does, whether years from now the war in Iraq will all seem a minor moment or whether we are at the beginning of some great historical change. "You can think yourself into a crisis in the middle of the night," Mr. McEwan said.' More here. I read Atonement, because everyone was banging on about how great it was, and it wasn't all that great. No Great Gatsby for sure. It made me not-read the other one people were banging on about at the time, The Corrections. I read two pages of that, and stopped. Self-consciously literary writing basically pisses me off.