Solar - by Ian McEwan

I downloaded this book rather on impulse, but aware of how I had quite enjoyed reading "Saturday".  I had a great deal of frustration in trying to get the darned Ebook to load and had to resort to reading it on my E-reader so it seems I shall need to keep this as a handy backup device to the BeBook which seems to have issues with DRM that the Sony does not, no doubt thanks to the on board wifi in the BeBook.

I have only just finished the book and it was a quick read.  Hard to take the book entirely seriously, and even harder to take our protagonist, Michael Beard, seriously.  I think it is a great trick that the author pulls off in placing us within the protagonists view that we can ALMOST get our heads around the outrageous way he behaves and ALMOST buy into his self-deceptions.  This is not quite as human and as forgiveable a man as Updike's Rabit, but then Rabit was the subject of any number of novels and Beard is only of one short work.

The plot is told in chunks of continuous action but set at removes of ten year intervals.  This enables us to deal with a Nobel prize winning scientist who is having trouble coming to terms wth the rest of his life at a point when his actions are catching up with him, specifically the fallout of a disasterous attitude towards women, he is getting his "come uppance" some would say in the disolution of his fifth marriage.  Through the course of the rest of the work this is not the only fallout and, regretably, he is not the only victim.  Bu tthe twists in the plot are expertly managed and even though the ending is somewhat inevitable it is pulled off in a way that remains engaging.

As the noivel drew to a close I did get a nasty taste, but it felt sadly authentic to human nature and the real world.  There were elements of Tom Sharpe humour almost, but with Ian McEwans ability to make it all too believeable this was not funny, just tragic.  I think the only redemption was in the aspect of science, which perhaps is being held up as the true hero and one that transfigures and mere humanity and offers hope for progress where individual lives cannot.