“British humour to me means Wodehouse, and such standards are difficult to match, let alone surpass. Ian McEwan's brand of humour takes getting used to. Penises-getting-stuck-to-zippers don't seem funny, but 50 pages later, you begin to chuckle at the barely-there irony that laces much of the book. The narrator, a cocky heartless physicist, is impossible to like, and you spend the entire book willing him to turn over a new leaf, his artlessness making you not quite wish for a comeuppance. This is the kind of man who can rationalize sending another man to jail for no fault of his own. The book barely skims through the world of academia, but the references seem well-researched and accurate. Always finding a sliver of humour at even the most sordid of moments, this makes for a light read. ”Shweta R wrote this review Saturday, August 4, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“As tales about really obnoxious more than middle aged men go, this is surely one of the best. ”danielle_elizabeth wrote this review Tuesday, July 31, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
Ian McEwan is just amazing. I had no idea that this book would be so funny, totally unexpected.”
“An arabesque of excrement...you make the words dance, Mr. McEwan. Thank you. ”jamesd wrote this review Friday, July 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Ian McEwan has written some incredible books. I loved Amsterdam and Atonement. Unfortunately this novel doesn't live up to his standards. I guess it's alright on it's own, but I expect wonders from this author so it's disappointing when I don't get it. If you're a huge fan then go ahead and read it, but if you have a choice to read another of his titles do that instead and just rely on my plot summary for a quick and easy overview: http://theplotspot.net/BookPages/Solar/Solar.html”ThePlotSpot wrote this review Wednesday, July 4, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Enjoyable humorous tale.”Keith Barraclough wrote this review Tuesday, May 8, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Overall, excellent.”Ian M wrote this review Sunday, April 22, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was chosen by our work Book Group or I would have abandoned it fairly early on.
Solar tells the story of Michael Beard, Nobel Laureate for Physics, at three points in his live: 2000, 2005 & 2009. His is an obnoxious character: a serial womaniser with 5 ex-wives, he is pompous and has rested on his laurels since he won his Nobel Laureate. To add to this, he is fat & lazy, continously planning to do something about his weight problem but constantly procrastinating and indulging himself. He lies and cheats his way through his private, public & working life, leaving a trail of broken lives behind him. A totally unsympathetic character.
So, what is the 'story'? After a few excrutiating incidents around the dissolution of his 5th marriage and a trip to the arctic, a 'shocking' incident puts him in a position of opportunity: does he use this in a constructive way or take advantage?
Events jump to 2005 and we see him with a new woman, flat, job etc. etc. Again, various situations and opportunities open themselves up to him and again, the question of how he'll react is placed before us.
Ditto with 2009 and the final denouement.
The thing is, you just know how he'll react (if not always precisely what he'll do). There is very little to surprise in the book and the ending was so obvious..... I found the various 'incidents' excruciating and obvious, in particular the 'crisp incident'.
I guess it's supposed to be a moral tale. We're not supposed to like the character, we're supposed to side with everyone else in the book. Even so, I didn't enjoy this (as is obvious), I wouldn't have finished it if it wasn't the Book Group choice and I certainly won't read anything else by this author. (I did read Chesil Beach a year or so ago & didn't particularly enjoy that either).”
“This tragicomic satire is another winner from one of the finest writers of contemporary fiction alive. The part about the frozen appendage is the most hilarious bit I've read in a while.”RichieDave L wrote this review Friday, April 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No