Thursday, April 14, 2005

ian mcewan

I'm half way through reading Ian McEwan's novel Saturday which is set on 15 February 2003 the day of the first massive anti war demonstrations in Britain. Also I saw him interviewed about this novel tonight on SBS as part of the 5pm NewsHour program.

McEwan is a great writer and I'd really recommend this book, his characterisations, vivid descriptions of everyday events and exploration of the inner self are amazingly good.

McEwan's views on the Iraq war as expressed in the novel and in the interview are ambivalent. He explores both side of the argument - that Saddam has to go and the the Americans will make a botch of it all.

The dialogue about the war is extensive throughout the book but it forms the backdrop of a much bigger novel about the human condition, modern anxieties, pleasures and the genetic lottery.

McEwan describes himself as a materialist, here is something he said about that recently:
What I believe but cannot prove is that no part of my consciousness will survive my death. I exclude the fact that I will linger, fadingly, in the thoughts of others, or that aspects of my consciousness will survive in writing, or in the positioning of a planted tree or a dent in my old car. I suspect that many contributors to Edge will take this premise as a given, true but not significant. However, it divides the world crucially, and much damage has been done to thought as well as to persons, by those who are certain that there is a life, a better, more important life, elsewhere. That this span is brief, that consciousness is an accidental gift of blind processes, makes our existence all the more precious and our responsibilities for it all the more profound.


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