Wednesday, 8 June 2011


 Solar begins in the year 2000 where Michael Beard is on the verge of divorcing his fifth, and in his mind, last wife.  His career has stagnated, having become a figure head for a few companies without ever really contributing any ideas to their work.  It is when he discovers that his wife is having an affair that the story really begins, and the repercussions of this not only influence his personal life, but his professional life too.

Ian McEwan's magical power is making a brainy subject matter, that in another writer's prose would read as a foreign language, and a seemingly unlikeable character- in this case Nobel prize winning scientist Michael Beard - accessible to stupid people like myself.  Don't get me wrong, it took me a while to read, and yes some parts went straight through my eyes and out of my ears not even bothering to bypass my brain, but there's more to this book than the science.  There is a human quality to the novel, which provides an equilibrium, and there lies another of McEwan's magical powers: he makes the unlikeable readable.  Michael Beard is a horrible person, and I did wonder how he managed to attract so many women, but I still wanted to follow his story even when I wanted to hit him.  So don't be afraid, give it a go and you may discover something unexpected.

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