Who’d McEwan have to fuck to get those reviews?

Everyone was reading Saturday. Everyone was telling me how good Saturday is. So I read Saturday. It delighted me. We finally have an answer to this long-standing question: “Who is the most dead-fucking-boring writer from the Y’Know – Martin Amis and that lot literary set?”

It was never going to be Amis or Rushdie. Amis is too annoying to be boring; Rushdie took the points he got from the Fatwa, blew them by hanging with Bono, then pulled them right back by picking up a hot actress. Salman, thank you – you’ve given us all a lot of laughs. Just don’t expect us to read your books.

Julian Barnes always seemed boredom front-runner. Indications of his dullness are that he’s loved in France, and that I just fell asleep when I tried remember what happens in Metroland. However, you’ve got to give him Flaubert’s Parrot, though that is cheating, since anything becomes interesting and good if it has lots of Flaubert. Observe: “the entire dream of democracy is to raise the proletariat to the level of bourgeois stupidity.” See? The article just got better.

Incidentally, BBC4 are currently considering a TV series in which I wear an oversized latex mask of Flaubert, and read passages of his work in a stupid northern voice. That’s right – Salammbo Selecta.

In theory, Ian McEwan’s out of the running. You’d think someone who wrote stories entitled (if I remember correctly) ‘Cock in a Jar’ and ‘Sex Monkey’ would be interesting. He’s also one of the few serious writers, along with Emma Tennant, to be named after tramp lager. However, now he’s written Saturday and, specifically, the squash match in Saturday.

Here are my questions to the polite, bookish world that forced me (forced me I tell you!) to read this: are you truly happy with a book that contains a 15-page description of a squash match? Doesn’t that suggest a problem with your relationship to literature, or life? There are a lot of books without 15-page descriptions of squash matches. Mightn’t they be better?

How did McEwan fail to realise he was writing this? Hasn’t he got a wife or an editor, just someone to say “Seriously – a fucking squash match”? Is the next novel (please call it Sunday, Ian, please) likely to include two chapters on a fondue party? If I want retro-bourgeois, I could shop in Marks and Spencer.

Ian McEwan is hereby crowned the most boring of Y’know, Amis and that lot. Over to you again, Flaubert: “To me he seems as eternal as mediocrity itself.”