Julie Saltman asks for books to read when you're suffering in a downtown St. Louis Starbucks from a tornado-induced blackout. How about Ian McEwan's Saturday to get the blood pumping? Read Edward Champion's discussion of it, or Zadie Smith's interview with McEwan. It's just so cozy, two Booker-Prize long-listed writers mooning at each other. What I like about Smith's writing is that she's right:
Picking up a book by McEwan is to know, at the very least, that what you read therein will be beautifully written, well-crafted, and not an embarrassment, either for you or for him. This is a really big deal.
What I don't like is how falsely modest and pandering she can sound:
Because of the posh university I attended, I first met McEwan many years ago, before I was published myself. I was nineteen, down from Cambridge for the holidays, and a girl I knew from college was going to Ian McEwan’s wedding party. This was a fairly normal occurrence for her, coming from the family she did, but I had never clapped eyes on a writer in my life.
She's such an ingenue.