Politics, the Domestic and the Uncanny Effects of the Everyday in Ian McEwan's Saturday

in Critical Survey
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McEwan’s Saturday (2005) begins and ends in the edgy border zones between sleeping and waking, the public and the private, night and day. The main plot action concerns a violent threat to the domestic security of its protagonist Henry Perowne, while its setting draws on contemporary political events. It is a novel which can be seen to develop aspects of earlier works, including A Child in Time (1987), Black Dogs (1992) and Enduring Love (1997). As a novel set on a single day, it can be compared with a closely contemporary American work, Don de Lillo’s Cosmopolis (2003) and the modernist day novel such as James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (1925). Saturday communicates its political themes in terms of family life, celebrates the power of the novel to explore both pathological and political states of the mind and draws on uncanny politicising effects in representing the everyday.

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