5. Solar: Ian McEwan

001Why did I read it?

Because Ian McEwan is probably my favourite contemporary author and somehow I never got round to reading this one.

Genres

Modern/ literary fiction, humour?

Plot Summary

Without wanting to give too much away, it is the story of an overweight, serial womanizing, former Nobel Prize winning physicist who, in spite of caring little about climate change, becomes involved in a new project to produce clean energy. That makes it sound boring, but anything else would be too spoilery.

My Review
As I said above, Ian McEwan is probably my favourite contemporary author so I am predisposed to love his books. That being said, I did find this a little disappointing and not up to his best work, like Sweet Tooth, Atonement or The Child in Time (my favourites). There are some very funny moments, like his attempts to urinate in the Arctic and the incident with the crisps on the train, and it is written in McEwan’s typical clean style. The problem for me is, and this is deliberate I’m sure, that main character Michael Beard has absolutely no redeeming features. His physical descriptions are repulsive and his actions even worse, how he has managed to have five wives and a string of lovers is beyond me. All through you are willing him to meet his comeuppance, and I suppose this is what keeps you reading; instead of sympathising with him and rooting for him to succeed you desperately want to know how and when it is all going to come crashing down and that is what makes this a good, but not a great, book for me.

4 stars

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