Review of 'Solar'

Solar by Ian McEwan

Not really my cup of tea, but here goes: Michael Beard is a Nobel prize-winning physicist who is involved in clean energy. At the beginning of the novel he is heading up a group, in a half-hearted way, that are working on a super-efficient wind turbine. His personal life is a bit of a mess as he gets married, cheats, gets divorced and gets married again (repeat throughout the story). A chance accident allows him to pin the accidental death of his wife's lover (and colleague) as a murder on another of his wife's lovers (yeah, complicated life). As the innocent man is in jail Beard picks up the work of his colleague as his own and works on the ultimate project: Photosynthesis-style solar energy. As the grand demonstration looms on the horizon things come to a head…

Right, didn't like the main character (though, to be honest, I am not sure he is supposed to be likable) and the story was moderately interesting, but only moderately. I was hoping this would be a more science-y but the summary above pretty much encompasses the entire science content of the story (no, really). This is a novel about Beard and his extraordinarily messed up life. Do people like this seriously exist? I sort of sympathize with the women in his life but then the story reveals them to be as morally bankrupt as he is. I am not being a prude but, seriously, he is not a nice person at all.

I suppose it is written ok, but not appealing in any way. Sorry. No recommendation here.


Review Date: 2013-03-29

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 2010