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)
"McEwan's pure, direct prose always lends itself well to audio... Roger Allam's studiously straight-faced reading sets the perfect tone for this subtle satire". (The Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Roald Dahl meets Martin Amis

I've enjoyed all of the Ian McEwan books I have listened to and this is one of the best. He combines really clever writing with a liking for macabre plot twists and dark humour. There are some excellent set-pieces in the novel, my favourites being his descriptions of a nasty accident on a snow-mobile and of a stand-off over a packet of salt and vinegar crisps. The narrator did an excellent job. It is hard to find fault with this book if you are a fan.
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- Martin

Man made global warming

Like a coordinated air strike, Ian McEwan tries to reach many different targets in his new novel. As the interview with the writer included with the audio-book reveals, solar was going to be from the very beginning a novel about global warming. However although McEwan is a known proselytizer in this area, the characters in the novel are equivocal, until self interest and nothing more causes them to change sides. The central character of the book is a Nobel prize winning physicist who is trading on his former reputation both in the lecture room and in his personal life, and it is in the latter area in which he has problems as the book opens with his latest wife conducting her own extra marital experiments. The cleverly constructed story includes a great amount of accurate detail about contemporary physics as well as borrowing elements used in thrillers. The plot is an international as a James Bond novel, moving from suburban home county intrigues, a polar expedition, a South American experimental site and a North American trailer park. The more enjoyable sections would be the unintentional consequences of being caught short in sub zero temperatures, and a naive comment about gender predispositions leading to vilification in all sections of the press.

Roger Allam is a perfect choice for a reader of this novel. He portrays the worldly, self interested central character extremely well and his voice is well suited to McEwans slightly misanthropic and detached narrative.
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- Keith D. Brown

Book Details

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