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Solar by Ian McEwan

Solar (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Ian McEwan

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2,7051272,186 (3.3)182
Authors:Ian McEwan
Info:Vintage (2011), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Solar by Ian McEwan (2010)


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» See also 182 mentions

English (104)  Dutch (6)  French (4)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  All (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (127)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
Meh. McEwan can do better. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
disappointing. annoying character and little point. ( )
  gpaisley | Jun 18, 2016 |
His use of english is outstanding!!! So far his other books are as good. WOW! ( )
  PaulRx04 | Apr 15, 2016 |
This was chosen by our work Book Group or I would have abandoned it fairly early on.

Solar tells the story of Michael Beard, Nobel Laureate for Physics, at three points in his live: 2000, 2005 & 2009. His is an obnoxious character: a serial womaniser with 5 ex-wives, he is pompous and has rested on his laurels since he won his Nobel Laureate. To add to this, he is fat & lazy, continously planning to do something about his weight problem but constantly procrastinating and indulging himself. He lies and cheats his way through his private, public & working life, leaving a trail of broken lives behind him. A totally unsympathetic character.

So, what is the 'story'? After a few excrutiating incidents around the dissolution of his 5th marriage and a trip to the arctic, a 'shocking' incident puts him in a position of opportunity: does he use this in a constructive way or take advantage?

Events jump to 2005 and we see him with a new woman, flat, job etc. etc. Again, various situations and opportunities open themselves up to him and again, the question of how he'll react is placed before us.

Ditto with 2009 and the final denouement.

The thing is, you just know how he'll react (if not always precisely what he'll do). There is very little to surprise in the book and the ending was so obvious..... I found the various 'incidents' excruciating and obvious, in particular the 'crisp incident'.

I guess it's supposed to be a moral tale. We're not supposed to like the character, we're supposed to side with everyone else in the book. Even so, I didn't enjoy this (as is obvious), I wouldn't have finished it if it wasn't the Book Group choice and I certainly won't read anything else by this author. (I did read Chesil Beach a year or so ago & didn't particularly enjoy that either). ( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
There are no named or numbered chapters to provide a break to catch one’s breath as the story spins along with farcical pace and what appears to be solid science. However the story is told in three parts corresponding to events in 2000, 2005 and 2009.
The main character, Michael Beard, is a five-time married philanderer and a Nobel Laureate physicist. His private life is as important to the story as is the physics of photosynthesis and fuel cells and both get plenty of coverage. Come the final climax, I was hoping he would indeed save the world. ( )
  NeilT | Jan 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)

Solar is grappig, slim geschreven en spannend tot op de laatste bladzijde. Een roman om, Beardsgewijs, duimen en vingers bij af te likken.
added by PGCM | editKnack, Jan Stevens (Nov 25, 2010)
Despite the book’s somber, scientific backdrop (and global warming here is little but that), “Solar” is Mr. McEwan’s funniest novel yet — a novel that in tone and affect often reads more like something by Zoë Heller or David Lodge. Like “Amsterdam,” this latest book shows off his gifts as a satirist, but while it gets off to a rollicking start, its plot machinery soon starts to run out of gas, sputtering and stalling as it makes its way from one comic set piece to another.
Solar” is een vermakelijke en bijzonder goed gevulde roman, waarvan ook de wetenschappelijke gedeelten strak en helder geschreven zijn. Ian McEwan weet als zo vaak minutieus realisme en stilistische elegantie met elkaar te verenigen. De vraag die velen zich wel zullen stellen is: waar wil McEwan met zijn lezer naar toe? Er is namelijk slechts één gids: de onbetrouwbare anti-held Michael Beard, “passé” als geleerde maar niet genoeg om hem zo maar van de tafel te vegen. Zijn seksuele en andersoortige geeuwhonger maakt van deze Nobelprijslaureaat wel een karikaturale omkering van wat de nieuwe mens zou moeten zijn en hoe hij zich op een verantwoordelijke wijze tot de aarde en zijn medebewoners zou moeten gedragen.
Lightness, however, comes less easily to McEwan, whose style depends on deliberateness and a certain ponderousness. The ominous lining up of causes and effects and the patient tweaking of narrative tension don't always mesh well with the aimed-for quickness and brio. Some of the humour is quite broad: there's a rather clunking motif concerning polar bears, and Beard gets involved with a stereotypical Southern waitress who's called, in the way of trailer-trash types, Darlene. He emerges as a figure of some comic dynamism, but the pages on his childhood and youth, though brilliantly done, articulate poorly with the knockabout parts of the plot. Once it became clear that the book's world is comic, I also found myself wondering if it wouldn't have benefited from being more loosely assembled, with shorter, discontinuous episodes and Beard functioning along the lines of Updike's Bech, Nabokov's Pnin or the consciousness in Calvino's Cosmicomics.
Beard is as robust and full-fleshed and ebullient a character as McEwan has come up with. And in Solar, he shows a side to himself as a writer — a puckishness, a broadness of humour, an extravagance of style — that we haven’t seen before.

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian McEwanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dean, SuzanneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olcina, EmiliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"It gives him great pleasure, makes Rabbit feel right, to contemplate the world's wastings, to know the earth is mortal too."

Rabbit is Rich, John Updike
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He belonged to that class of men - vaguely unprepossessing, often bald, short, fat, clever - who were unaccountably attractive to certain beautiful women.
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La Edad de Piedra no terminó a causa de la escasez de piedras.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385533411, Hardcover)

The literary event of the season: a new novel from Ian McEwan, as surprising as it is masterful.

Michael Beard is a Nobel prize–winning physicist whose best work is behind him. Trading on his reputation, he speaks for enormous fees, lends his name to the letterheads of renowned scientific institutions, and half-heartedly heads a government-backed initiative tackling global warming. While he coasts along in his professional life, Michael’s personal life is another matter entirely. His fifth marriage is crumbling under the weight of his infidelities. But this time the tables are turned: His wife is having an affair, and Michael realizes he is still in love with her.

When Michael’s personal and professional lives begin to intersect in unexpected ways, an opportunity presents itself in the guise of an invitation to travel to New Mexico. Here is a chance for him to extricate himself from his marital problems, reinvigorate his career, and very possibly save the world from environmental disaster. Can a man who has made a mess of his life clean up the messes of humanity?

A complex novel that brilliantly traces the arc of one man’s ambitions and self-deceptions, Solar is a startling, witty, and stylish new work from one of the world’s great writers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:49 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

When Nobel prize-winning physicist Michael Beard's personal and professional lives begin to intersect in unexpected ways, an opportunity presents itself in the guise of an invitation to travel to New Mexico. Here is a chance for him to extricate himself from his marital problems, reinvigorate his career, and very possibly save the world from environmental disaster.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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