Solar

  • by Ian McEwan
  • Narrated by Roger Allam
  • 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Features the author in converstation with his editor, Dan Franklin.
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.
A compulsive womaniser, Beard finds his fifth marriage floundering. But this time it is different: she is having the affair, and he is still in love with her.
When Beard’s professional and personal worlds collide in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself for him to extricate himself from his marital mess, reinvigorate his career, and save the world from environmental disaster.
Ranging from the Arctic Circle to the deserts of New Mexico, Solar is a serious and darkly satirical novel, showing human frailty struggling with the most pressing and complex problem of our time. A story of one man’s greed and self-deception, it is a profound and stylish new work from one of the world’s great writers.

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What the Critics Say

'[A] novel that promises comedy as well as crisis.' (The Guardian)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Squeamishly entertaining

And I'm clearly not talking about blood and guts here. Solar sits you down and serves you scotch in the mind's armchair of Prof. Michael Beard, Nobel Prize winning scientist, opportunist and everyday scoundrel. Entertaining because it's funny - he is a true rogue and gentleman, and squeamish because despite your better judgement you'll be on Beard's side. Mostly because you've silently recognised the rogue in yourself. Surely that's not just me?
There are those who call this the most self concious novel in a string of particularly successful books and perhaps there's truth to that. But Solar is well written, well read, and will in parts raise more than a smile.
Blurring the boundaries between fiction, hearsay and fact, there's plenty to sink your teeth (ears?) into. Thoroughly modern, thoroughly enjoyable.
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- Prue

One of the best Ian McEwan novels!

"Solar" far exceeded my high expectations. I consider myself an experienced reader of McEwan's novels, having gone through the excellent "Amsterdam", "Enduring Love" and "Saturday". In my opinion, "Solar" is the best among this impressive peer group of novels. I might be prejudiced, as green technology is one of my areas of interest, but it is not just the excellent insights on technology that make this book truly Great. Professor Michael Beard's character is a dramatic one, at times reminding me of tragic Shakespearean protagonists.

Beard is a man with a cognitive claim to fame (his Nobel Prize) that is quickly gathering dust, and who more than offsets this achievement by pretty much screwing up everything else in his life: obesity, lack of social intelligence, marriages and breakups, cover-ups of his vile deeds, general "untidyness", etc.

As usual (he's done similar things in earlier novels), McEwan introduces a dramatic plot turn that is defining the rest of the novel. After that, the decay of Michael Beard seems to accelerate.

A great novel with a nice structure incorporating flashbacks, well narrated in the audiobook version, and ending with an insightful interview with the author.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
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- Philip

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-18-2010
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks