Solar by Ian McEwan
This novel follows the life and times of Michael Beard, a Nobel Laureate who has had five wives and numerous affairs. Throughout the course of the novel, McEwan makes us dislike Beard more and more, while at the same time showing the petty jealousies and bickering present in the world of the uber-academic elite. We are introduced to Beard at the end of his fifth (and final) marriage, and the book is split into 3 parts which span about a decade, chronicling Beard’s numerous personal failures and, between murders and thefts, the revulsion of Beard by the media (his failed public life). Yet the book is a sort of love story also; Beard doesn’t really change his life perspective or have an epiphany, but he gains slightly more of a human aspect throughout the course of the book.
This was my first book of McEwan’s, though I knew that he had previously written Atonement (I saw the movie). It was a pretty quick read, but can be draggy at some parts – which I skimmed quickly and felt I still got the gist of the novel pretty well. I liked how McEwan purposely made the main character someone you wouldn’t really like and kept it that way throughout the course of the book. Romantics beware: this is not a journey of self-discovery or of true love. But it is a pretty good read.
Overall: Wait till it comes out in paperback (thought to be fair, the bookshoppers really did marvel at the quality of the hardback’s cover….). Or borrow it from the library. Do not display it prominently in your library.