Friday, February 1, 2008


Reading Saturday feels, in a way, like time is moving slower as in the course of reading the book than the pace at which the story progresses.  All of Perone's individual interactions include such detail that it seems as though the scene is under water, moving in slow, calculated motion.  The squash scene probably took around an hour to read, and the squash game itself probably took less than an hour.  Perone's flashbacks occupy time as well, freezing the moment as he reflects on some distant memory.  To Perone, the flashbacks take no more than mere seconds, but since we as readers have no idea what his memories include, the whole account is presented to us.  McEwan's technique, the act of representing time in the novel, makes the experience of reading Saturday feel like the reader is experiencing every aspect of the day in real time.
McEwan compresses every single detail of this 24 hour period into 289 pages.  This book is a work of compression because there is an unlimited amount of detail associated with any single day.  He could have written 289 pages on one specific minute, if he desired to include every detail about that particular minute.  This novel teaches the reader not to overlook any aspect of a scene, to focus and absorb and understand absolutely everything the author presents.

1 comment:

Erin Sells said...

It's a paradox of the twenty-four hour novel that the experience of reading the story of a day takes us much longer than one day in our own lives! Reading is another way that time can be seen to be relative--as we read, we can experience time in multiple ways simultaneously!