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Solar (Paperback)

Author:  Ian McEwan
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Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0307739538
ISBN-13: 9780307739537
Sku: 216794150
Publish Date: 3/8/2011
Pages:  332
See more in Literary
Can a man who has made a mess of his life clean up the messes of humanity? A complex novel that brilliantly traces the arc of one man''s ambitions and deceptions, "Solar" is a startling, witty new work from the author of "Atonement."
Michael Beard, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, find himself in a middle-age morass, his fifth marriage in shambles, his career stalled, his reputation ruined by an ill-advised comment about the chemistry of the female brain, and his paunch unmistakably moving down and out from his body. Unlikely as it seems, Beard might also be the only person who can save the planet--if his artificial photosynthesis can halt the inexorable march of global warming. Booker-winner Ian McEwan's rollicking and hilarious SOLAR marks a drastic shift in tone from his previous few novels (ON CHESIL BEACH, SATURDAY, ATONEMENT). SOLAR's protagonist is a wonderfully conceived mess of a human, half brilliant half buffoon, a man who continually makes pledges towards progress even as he slouches towards disaster--in short, Beard is a perfect representation of modern civilization's great promises and pitfalls. Written with characteristic panache, and drawing in part on his own skirmishes with the media, McEwan's SOLAR might be one of the most important and intelligent novels about climate change ever written--and is almost certainly the funniest. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2010.
Author Bio
Ian McEwan
Ian Russell McEwan was born on 21 June 1948 in Aldershot, a military town in southern England. He had two much older half-siblings and considered himself an only child. An "army brat," he spent his childhood in Singapore and North Africa where his father was stationed, but returned to England to go to boarding school and the University of Sussex. He got an M.A. at the University of East Anglia, where in his creative writing courses Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson encouraged him to be a writer. His first marriage ended in 1995 (and his wife, Penny Allen, made McEwan notorious when, after she kidnapped one of their two sons and fled to France, their custody dispute--which McEwan won--became public). He married journalist Annalena McAfee in 1997. One of McEwan's favorite writers was Kafka; he also counts Evelyn Waugh as an influence, and the biologist E. O. Wilson. McEwan is celebrated for his macabre, grotesque, and occasionally kinky fiction. His novel AMSTERDAM won the Booker Prize in 1998, and several of his works have been made into films.


"SOLAR is the funniest book Ian McEwan has ever written....[He's] a nearly peerless wordsmith, as well as being crazy smart." - Jeff Giles 04/02/2010

"There is no getting around the fact the man writes beautifully: passage after passage of precise, closely observed prose. Comedy when he wants it, pathos when he needs it, insight when he has it." - Joseph Bottum 03/30/2010

"SOLAR offers both high-minded amusement in its skewering of environmentalist, postmodern and objectivist pieties, and, in the North Pole scenes in which Beard braves subzero cold and a hungry polar bear, something awfully close to slapstick.....Nominally a hot-button story about a theoretical physicist confronting climate change, [McEwan's] mischievous, darkly entertaining SOLAR better resonates as a tale of intellectual property theft..." - Taylor Antrim 03/28/2010

"SOLAR has an engagingly direct, bleakly comic view of science and scientists. It also convinces....For some readers it will return to McEwan a little of the credibility he seemed to be working so hard to lose with novels such as SATURDAY and ON CHESIL BEACH..." - M. John Harrison 03/26/2010

"McEwan has always been a droll writer, and sentence by sentence SOLAR displays a great deal of wit and cleverness....[But] the moral dilemmas that occur in SOLAR never seem quite real or urgent enough. Even so, it's a book that many will read and enjoy, and why shouldn't they? McEwan's misfires are better than many novelists' best efforts." - Geoff Nicholson 03/28/2010

"According to the perverse aesthetics of artistic guilty pleasure, certain books and movies are so bad...that they're actually rather good. just the opposite: a book so good--so ingeniously designed, irreproachably high-minded and skillfully brought off--that it's actually quite bad. Instead of being awful yet absorbing, it's impeccable yet numbing, achieving the sort of superbly wrought inertia of a Romanesque cathedral." - Walter Kirn 04/18/2010

Product Attributes

Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0332
Product attributePublisher:   Anchor Books
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