Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Reviews #16

Solar - Ian McEwan

This was another a bookclub read and what's more one that I wanted to read, but after finishing it I'm still unsure of whether I actually enjoyed it.

That it's well written and beautifully crafted there's no doubt, but what I do doubt is that anyone will have anything favourable to say about the novel come Friday evening. I almost expect to be the only person to have finished the book.

Look at the entry on Amazon for Solar and you find the reviewers split, with it averaging only 3 stars, not what you expect from Mr Atonement McEwan.

The subject matter is pertinent, that of climate change and the dwindling supplies of coal, oil and gas. That part of the book I loved, it intrigued the dormant scientist in me, the main character however is perfectly hateful. He has not a single redeeming characteristic, at one point you think he's going to change for the better, he certainly intends to but he's too old and set in his lazy ways.

Michael Beard is a Nobel Laureate for taking the work of Einstein one step further and proposing the 'Beard-Einstein Conflation'. What exactly this is, is never explained (and the story doesn't need it explaining.) Beard made the discovery and was recognised for it relatively early in his scientific career and then rode the wake of its success and fame for the rest of his life.

Beard is a man of excess, divorcing wife number five not long into the story and eating, drinking and fornicating his way through the rest of it.

The book is interesting from the science angle (for me) but possibly a little too clever, I doubt anyone reading this as their first McEwan would venture onto any of his other, better, books.

A shame, I so wanted to like it more!

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