Friday, January 21, 2005

Sunday afternoon: McEwan on Newsnight Review

The author of Saturday talks about how, in 2001, he was planning a comic novel about a tabloid journalist. Then 9/11 occurred and he lost interest. He lost interest in the novel and novel writing itself for six or so months. Clearly the deaths of 100,000+ Iraqis didn't have the same impact.

But he does admit that the two million protesters on the day Saturday is set were completely right.

He moves quickly on beyond the implications of this troublesome fact by saying that Henry Perowne (the main character of Shaturday) could not agree with them as this would make it rather a boring novel. OK, I suppose.

Yet perhaps a fictional or non-fictional study of a Western middle-class liberal's wilful unwillingness to admit the bleedin' obvious would have been more worthwhile than an apologia in the form of a swirl of elegant writerly dry-ice (Mark Lawson thinks it's beautifully written!).

PS - An Anecdote:
When I was a student sitting in the library reading the graffiti on the desks, I saw a male head pop round a corner. I recognised the face. Later, I saw him again. It was Ian McEwan looking for his daughter. That's what he told me. I told him that I enjoyed The Child in Time and that my American housemate was reading The Innocent. Later, I told her that I told him. She was very excited. I put that novel down after a few pages and haven't read him since (except for these painful extracts).


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