Solar by Ian McEwan focuses on issues of global warming while trying to keep pace with the everyday shenanigans of the clumsy protagonist. The narrative often loses direction by trying to shift between these two concerns, but manages to create a few rib-tickling situations.

The novel kicks off with the introduction of Michael Beard, a short and bald, middle-aged Nobel Laureate in Physics, who, despite his growing waistline, still has a way with the ladies. His marriage hits rock bottom after the object of his fantasy, the young and beautiful Patrice uncovers all of his philandering misfortunes.

…he finds himself in one amusingly embarrassing situation after another.

McEwan invites us into the mind of his farcical protagonist and on his journey of decreasing self-esteem: he finds himself in one amusingly embarrassing situation after another.

The comic action of the novel does not restrict itself to the absurdity of Beard’s life – it also establishes an important link between major political authorities and their declining interest in solving global warming.

…a novel in which serious concerns are dealt with in a mildly satirical way…

The novel definitely has some laugh-out-loud moments, but it does not necessarily qualify as a comic novel. Rather it is a novel in which serious concerns are dealt with in a mildly satirical way. The narrative builds to a nail-biting climax; however, it does tend to lose focus as it jumps from one unrelated situation to another.

This book is probably not for those who are looking for a seriously centred approach to global warming, but it is definitely a worthwhile read for science buffs with a good sense of humour.

Solar is available from Jonathan Cape for £13.99

3 Stars

Image courtesy of Cape Publicity

 

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