Solar – Ian McEwan

Michael Beard is in his late fifties; bald, overweight, unprepossessing – a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. Trading on his reputation, he speaks for enormous fees, lends his name to the letterheads of renowned scientific institutions and half-heartedly heads a government-backed initiative tackling global warming. An inveterate philanderer, Beard finds his fifth marriage floundering. When Beard’s professional and personal worlds are entwined in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself, a chance for Beard to extricate himself from his marital mess, reinvigorate his career and very possibly save the world from environmental disaster.

Genre: Literary Fiction
Random House
Year: 2010
Rating: 5/5

I consider myself an Ian McEwan fan. I admire McEwan's style and his ability to grab the reader's attention from the very first page, often with a small event that culminates into something big. Something important.

I love how he can take one single moment and show us how this one moment can change a persons life forever. One decision, one word, one inaction or action alike, can change a persons world and have long reaching consequences.

Solar is, in my opinion, one of McEwan's finest works. It follows the Noble Prize winning physicist, Michael Beard as he struggles with his failing marriage and dwindling career.

Beard may be smart when it comes to physics but he is a moron in his personal life. Cheating on wife after wife, Beard finds he can't handle it when his newest wife turns the tables and cheats on him. I must admit, I gloated at first. Sucked in, Mr Beard. Serves you right. But McEwan has such a way of manipulating the reader's opinion of his characters that I soon felt myself feeling sorry for him.

As much as I was prepared to loathe Beard from the beginning, I soon found myself cheering him on and hoping that things would go his way. Even when an accident occurs, with horrifying results, and Beard makes a choice that is problematic, selfish and quite frankly kind of evil, I still found myself wanting him to succeed. That takes talent on the writer's part and shows that McEwan is one of the best modern writers of literary fiction.

There were some pretty amusing parts in this novel too. The scene where Beard is on the train and a young thug steals his potato crisps caused me to laugh out loud. The scene it itself was thoroughly enjoyable and I would recommend reading this novel just for that.

There were also a few "oh my god, no!" moments. Cringe worthy moments. The scene where Beard is in the Arctic and has an, ah... incident, while trying to go to the bathroom, really freaked me out. I was reading this part on the train, on the way to work and had to control myself from groaning and squealing out loud.

All in all, this was a enjoyable and interesting read. McEwan not only tells us a good story but also raises some important questions in regards to the environment. I love a novel that is topical as well as well written and fun to read. I must say it again, McEwan has talent. 
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