Ian McEwan, Saturday, and Personal Affection in the Information Age
Frances Ferguson considers Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday to get at the novelist’s attempt to depict the importance of accidental and improbable affection between characters who have virtually every reason to be antagonists. She identifies obvious cases of personal affection—love for a life partner, love for one’s children, relationships with colleagues—to bring into relief the impersonal affection that the novel’s protagonist Henry Perowne demonstrates in relation to Baxter, a street tough who has invaded his home and whom he has injured in hurling him down the stairs of his house. This affection is not erotic love for a stranger; nor is it a principled charitable love (as we can see from the fact that Henry does not extend it to Baxter’s accomplice).
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