McEwan takes readers on a journey through a day in the life of London neurosurgeon Henry Perowne. At the onset of Henry's day, he awakens to the sight of a plane in the sky with a wing aflame.

Later, Henry and wife Rosalind prepare for their day and look forward to an evening with their two on-the-brink-of-adulthood children. Henry is also worried about a citywide demonstration against the British government's war with Iraq. Henry later gets in a minor car accident, due in part to the protest-crowded streets. Baxter, a man involved in the accident, is not pleased with Henry's apology and turns up at the Perowne residence, knife in hand.

The cataclysmic events of Henry's Saturday form pieces in the puzzle of his life. When his skill and sympathy as a physician are tested in the novel's climactic conclusion, he is forced to respond to trauma, not merely as a physician but also as a concerned human being. Brilliantly executed, Saturday reinforces McEwan's reputation as one of the first-rate literary minds of our times. (Mar., 289 pp., $26.00)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick