“Solar” (2010) / Ian McEwan / 10.10.17

21 Jan

Solar, Ian McEwanThis one is a strange, darkly funny little book. Our protagonist is an aging and aged British physicist who’s a perpetually unfaithful serial monogamist.

All in all, I found the novel to be something of a slog. There are a handful of scenes and moments that are pitch-perfect, brilliant even, but, as a whole, I’d not recommend it.

I’d not read Ian McEwan prior to this. He’s wildly famous; 1998’s Amsterdam won the Man Booker, and 2001’s Atonement was shortlisted for the Booker and made into a critically-acclaimed film. When I “discovered” Solar in the stacks at downtown LA’s The Last Bookstore several weeks back, I thought that here might be a good work with which to introduce myself to this serious and seriously respected British novelist, but I was nonplussed by what I’ve experienced here. Though, as I’ve said, there were wonderful moments here, and plenty of poignancy with regard to the tribulations of being an aging man, I felt misled a bit by the novel’s dustjacket—and its title, for that matter—both of which lead one to believe that there will be something within that significantly deals with the subject of climate change. Rather, it was just kind of a dark comedy about a man who’s been married six times and is beginning to develop a robust gut and multiple chins.

Ian McEwanI should have started with Amsterdam.

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