Very funny – Ian McEwan – Solar

Ian McEwan can be great as demonstrated in  On Chesil Beach and Atonement but  also not so great such as Saturday, Solar however belongs to the former category,  I really enjoyed this.  It is his funniest novel, an entertaining read and even had me laughing out loud.

The protagonist is Michael Beard,  a Nobel Prize winning scientist working for a governmental environmental think-tank.  He is short, fat, ridiculous and a serial shagger; at the start of the novel he is on his fifth marriage.     Beard is obviously intelligent and a bit of a twit but his ridiculousness makes him a  more sympathetic character than you would expect.  The plot concerns Beards’ not particularly diligent work to deal with climate change which are often disastrous.  As the story develops Beard steals an idea for  next generation Solar panels  from his fifth ex-wife´s dead lover.   The story occurs over a nine-year period and takes place in London, Alaska (with a very funny account of a penis freezing off) and finally New Mexico.

This book is very clever as there are very complicated scientific issues concerning climate change, which could be really boring and preachy,  but the humourous way that McEwan deals with them make this book both clever and interesting.

I would recommend reading this for the best description of salt and vinegar crisps and the hugely funny incident with them on a train and the frozen penis episodes on their own.



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2 responses to “Very funny – Ian McEwan – Solar

  1. Vicki Gowans

    thought book so-so, but crisps on the train incident is one of the best set pieces I have read in an extremely long time. Oh to have been a fictional fly on the wall during that exchange. Genius!

  2. There were a couple of moments where I found the science a bit tricky but the crisps incident was so funny as it is going on and then when he finds his own I think it is genius too. Did you see my Susan Howatch review?

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