by Ian McEwan
3.1 149


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Solar by Ian McEwan

A best-selling work of wit from the Booker Prize-winning author, Solar brilliantly traces the arc of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist’s ambitions and self-deception.

Dr. Michael Beard’s 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 halfheartedly heads a government-backed initiative tackling global warming. Meanwhile, Michael’s fifth marriage is floundering due to his incessant womanizing. When his professional and personal worlds collide in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself for Michael to extricate himself from his marital problems, reinvigorate his career, and save the world from environmental disaster. But can a man who has made a mess of his life clean up the messes of humanity? 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385533416
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/30/2010
Pages: 287
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the novels NutshellThe Children ActSweet ToothSolar, winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize; On Chesil BeachSaturdayAtonement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the W. H. Smith Literary Award; The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both short-listed for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize; and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award; as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets.


Oxford, England

Date of Birth:

June 21, 1948

Place of Birth:

Aldershot, England


B.A., University of Sussex, 1970; M.A., University of East Anglia, 1971

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Solar 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 149 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry to see the American critics so down on this novel, esp. NYT, where IM's readers probably go. Even McEwan's "not his best" is far better than most other writers best. He is a craftsman who doesn't patronize his readers and trusts that they bring something besides eyes to the page.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
Ian McEwan apparently has a variety of observations he wishes to make on contemporary issues, not the least of which is science. He is a very smart man, an accomplished writer, and deserves to be heard. So. Why does he choose a vehicle like the novel Solar, centered on an unlikable character who probably has turned most readers off by page 80? But it was around page 80 that I thought the book picked up a bit, and I was able to enjoy some of the dilemmas he created for Michael Beard, the unworthy scientist who's haphazard life is supposed to carry our interest. Yet for those who think the book is very funny or even a good read, I wish to say that I think McEwan would have better conveyed his ideas in a Sunday magazine piece and saved us all from what is essentially a boring novel.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
Fiction of this caliber is too rare, but is all the more welcome for being so. This novel has a message, great prose, hilarious caricatures, and a laugh-at-aging-old-me sense of humility. The book felt like an amusing conversation with several bright friends where a number of the important discussion topics of our time are (lightly, lightly) raised: the "social construct" of genetic code, cap and trade, solar vs. wind, photosynthetic energy, government responsibility, the tentativeness of financing, the "coldhearted predation" of the media. In a time when one might plausibly argue the world is falling down around our ears, it is heartening and enervating to have a crusty old scold and storyteller spin a tale of human greed, folly, and outsized appetites, and how we manage to move ahead despite these things. The inexorability of the human aging process and the failures of self control we all experience is rendered so ridiculous it makes us laugh while we weep. But what I liked most was McEwan showing us that even the greatest among us is so fatally flawed and so repulsively human, that we are bound to fail--unless...and this is the genius in the equation...we cooperate. And how could it be otherwise? Even as free light from the sun falls on our heedless heads, we focus blearily on the changing weather through the thick glass bottoms of anesthesizing glasses of scotch. Only when weather threatens to drown or parch us do we half-heartedly sling our heavy buttocks out of our easy chairs to murmur, annoyed, that the government should do something, sue someone, drill somewhere. Folly, all. Art may after all be an important prod to action, but here I find it a resting place, a way-station on the weary slog to changing things we feel helpless to change, even though we can. It places the finest thinkers right down among us, so we can all claim some superiority, and perhaps even some responsibility. McEwan suggests, perhaps, that even self-interest plays a role in advancing the ball towards the goal, but shows how fragile our hopes, and how easily we can all come undone, lest we not be vigilant.
BillPilgrim More than 1 year ago
Michael Beard won a Nobel Prize in physics as a young man and he has been coasting on it ever since. The book is told entirely from his point of view, in the third person. It is divided into three parts, starting in 2000, then moving to 2005 and ended in 2009. At the beginning, Michael is the head of a government funded program in Britain, that is working on alternative energy. He is rarely there and not really committed to its mission. He goes on excursions and to conferences, giving speeches, but not doing any real work. His marriage is ending, due mostly to his chronic infidelity. In the rest of the book, we see how he progresses, or progressively declines would be more accurate. I found it difficult to like the book, because Michael is such an unlikable character. Still the book is extremely funny in parts; I did laugh out loud. I was interested in the story and kept reading because I wanted to see how it ended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Iceshard <p> Nickname: Ice <p> Gender: She <p> Age: 17 moons <p> Personality: She is very intelligent, and witty, feirce and strong, and bubbly, funny and warm-hearted. <p> Looks: She has a soft, white pelt that has grey dapples that get darker from head to tail. She has stunning, curios eyes. Her left eye is a vibrant blue (she is not blind) but as for her right eye, it is a rich carmel color. <p> Crush: Yes <p> Mate: Searching <p> Kits: Wants <p> History: Was born as a house cat. She ran away with her mom at 5 moons. <p> Anything else: Just ask! She doesnt bite! <p> &heart
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
[Bare with me on remmbering the details, I haven't rp'd Whisper in ages! ;-;] <br>Name: WhisperWillow <br>Gender: She <br>Age: 30 Moons <br>Rank: Warrior <p>Appearance: Creme pelt with a white under belly, white muzzle, and white tail tip. She has sandy colored paws and sandy dapples along her spine, a pink nose and very pale green eyes. <br>Persona: She is calm, caring, loyal, protective, kind-hearted, loving, and willing to help whoever she can. <p>Kin: MysticSun- Daughter (Missing), Suneyes- Daughter (Missing), LightningStreak- Aunt (Deceased) RunningWind-Mother (Deceased), and WhisperRain-Father (Deceased) <br>Mate: Frost- (Deceased) She is finally ready to find someone new.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Aurora Borealis. No, is's Aurorapaw. Call me Aurora dor short. <p>Age: 10 moons. <p>Gender: Are you really that stupid? <p> Appearance: Electric blue eyes with shimmering silver fur. Hence the name "Aurora." She's also a fairly small cat. <p> Mate/Crush/Kits: No, no, no. She's training to be a medicine cat. <p>Living Kin: Scarpaw, Gingerpaw, Lionpaw, and Fangpaw. All searching for clans or hunting down previous clan. <p> Other: Ask.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name:redsky*age:21 moons*apperance:red pelt with white underbelly, stiches from a tiger fight years ago, teal eyes.*kin:?*crush:none*mate:goldenflare*other:ask
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello, I am Longtail. I am a 19-moon old tom with a short black/white spotted pelt. I do not have a crush or a mate though I want kits. I realize that Longtail is a name that carries great honor and I live up to that. Thank you for listening to me as i told my bio.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Barkfur is a dark brown tom with deep blue eyes. His brown fur is long and always mat-free. His tail is long and feather-like with a white tip on it. Barkfur is clan born, but his parents were traitors and left to become kittypets. He always gets dark looks from the other warriors, because they all suspect he will run off, too. He has a crush, but because of his history he is afraid to talk to her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NAME: Rushingriver~&bull;~ AGE: about 19 moons~&bull;~ GENDER: tom/&male ~&bull;~ DESCRIPTION: dark gray with white highlights and points and blue-green eyes. He has three silver stripes that run down his spine, tapering at the forehead, then widening to frame an upside down triangle of silver. He is strong, great at climbing, hunting, but is an ok runner~&bull;~ PERSONALITY: when you first meet him, he can be a little snappy, but he starts to become a really fun cat later on. He will obey his leader's orders no matter the cost. He loves kits, and can be a little shy. But when around his hard-earned friends, he is outgoing, courageous, fun, and kind~&bull;~ STRENGTHS: fighting, climbing, hunting, talking ability~&bull;~ WEAKNESSES: trusts a little to easily. Follows orders. Hates to kill without big reason. He is a great fighter, but hates wars~&bull;~ CRUSH: yes. Two actually. Hint: she welcomed me to SolarClan. Hint: the other I have talked to the most, but really! There are no toms to be friends with!~&bull;~ MATE: looking~&bull;~ KITS: silly! I don't even have a mate!~&bull;~ KIN: none that is known~&bull;~ HISTORY: ask~&bull;~ FAVORITE FOOD: sparrow~&bull;~ SIGGY: working on it!~&bull;~ OTHER: ask! <br> <p> Thanks for reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name:IceFlame&bull;Age:20 moons&bull;Gender:Male//Tom&bull;Apperance:He is a Russian blue tom with alarg build and black tabby stripes. An silver steel eyes. &bull;Personality: His sweet and kind buy he will snap if you wander into his past. But over all hw is sweet kind annd fun to be with.&bull;Family:Shadowflare:mom,Foxteeth:father.&bull;Mate:None &bull;Crush:I have my eye on someone &bull;Kits:None but you can hope! &bull;Birth Clan:AshClan &bull;Other Fetures:A scar across his leg,flank and shoulder,from Revolution days.&bull;Skills:Hunting,Stragy,and Fighting.&bull;
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Featherkit. <p> Age: 6 moons (!!!) <p> Gender: Are you serious? <p> Coat: White with grey and black splotches <p> Eyes: Green with blue lines <p> Personality: Meet me. <p> Likes: Herbs, singing, hunting, running, hiding, and home. <p> Dislikes: Fish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name Domino age ? Gender She Family unknown Likes everything except dislikes fish rude cats cussing at little kids mean parents leather belts and suicidalls! Looks black with white spots a silver tiped tail and a black spot around left eye Other Ask me and read my story at res 12!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name cloudheart but call me cloud white tom blue gold eyes personality quiet mate none crush no one history?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name- Mothstripe the Magnificent. No, just Mothstripe.<p>Gender- She-cat, of course!<p>Age- Not super-young warrior but not old.<p>Appearance- Beige-cream with creamy white stripes, thicker than a normal tabby stripe. Yellow eyes. Semilong fur, creating a feathery tail.<p>Personality- Occasionally overhyper. Always puts a bit of humor into things. Extremely loyal to her Clan. And a bit like Luigi. Yes, the Man in Green. Yes, I am a a gamer irl. Yes, you have to deal with it.<p>Love life- She is kinda sorta looking for a mate, but with so few toms, all of them are nearly taken. Or at least crushed on by other shes. Never had mate/kits before.<p>History- I haven't made this up yet. Umm... Her parents are deeeeeeeeeaaa- No. That won't do. Hmm... it involves Twolegs. But she isn't a kittypet? I guess. That'll do, Donkey. That'll do.<p>Theme song- Smile Song Vocals in D-Flat Major And Also The Background Music is in 8Bit. Not the exact title but it's in a PooTube playlist by Vengeful Hang<_>over called Pitch Shifting Goodness.<p>Favorite Prey- fish, but it's secretly a secret. Shh!<p>Likes- fish, rain without lightning, the cooling feeling of stretching out on dirt or grass in the shadeon a hot day, references to fandoms, and fourth wall jokes.<p>Dislikes- Thunderstorms, intense heat, having to wake up quickly, and bad grammar, spelling, and puctuation.<p>Other: I feel there should be more to this bio. Oh yeah! Forgot to mention. Mothstripe's kinda the deputy. Oh wow. I was even thinking of putting that when I was writing the Personality section. Oh well. Goodbye and have a nice day. Close the door on your way out. Don't eat ramen noodles and drink chocolate milk in the same sitting unless you WANT intense stomach pain. Put the shower curtain inside the tub if you're taking a shower. Don't check on your rice unless you're sure it's done. And remember, kittens make your sad go away. :3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name:LunaThorn Age:18 moons Looks: she is a soft white shecat with sapphire blue eyes. She has a few black stripes across her back because she is part snow tiger. Personality: kind sweet and funny. Not always flirty Mate:looking Kits: none
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&#22876 Age <br> 23 Moons <p> &#22876 Gender <br> Tom <p> &#22876 Rank <br> Warrior <p> &#22876 Appearance <br> A lithe seal point Siamese with a jagged pink scar on his chest; deep vivid blue eyes. <p> &#22876 Persona <br> Get to know him. <p> &#22876 Crush <br> A certain she-cat <p> &#22876 Mate <br> Nope <p> &#22876 Kits <br> Nope <p> &#22876 Kin <br> BriarTail || Mother || Light brown tabby with green eyes <br> SwiftCloud || Father || Seal point Siamese || Former kittypet <br> SunLeaf || Sister || Brown-and-white with green eyes <p> &#22876 Other <br> No <p> Now click the [ X ]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gender: Shecat&bull; Age: Who cares?&bull; Rank: Warrior&bull; Crush: Yes...&bull; Mate: Nope&bull; Kits: You are so dumb.&bull; Personality: Shy, good with herbs, and not very brave. Doesn't judge cats by their parents or siblings, or backstorys. &bull; Likes: Rain, swimming and hunting. &bull; Dislikes: Patroling, sleeping, or fighting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Flameheart &bull; Age: 17 moons &bull; Appereance: Russet-orange, bright green eyes. &bull; Rank: Warrior &bull; Personality: Just talk to me. &bull; Kin: all unkown &bull; History: Don't ask &bull; Mate: none &bull; Crush: none &bull; Kits: none &bull; Other: just ask!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&#9833 Name| SolarStar<br> &#9834 Gender| &female <br> &#9835 Rank| Leader<br> &#9833 Age| About 25 moons<p> &#9834 Looks| SolarStar is a radiant golden she-cat with sparkling navy blue eyes. She has a white tipped tail and paws, and her tail is bushy like a bengal cat. Infact, she is half bengal.<p> &#9835 Persona| SolarStar is a bit eccentric in ways, but when you first meet her, she can be kinda shy. Don't be mistaken, becase she can be sassy and flirty.<p> &#9833 Mother| GreenFlower<br> &#9834 Father| PolarSun<br> &#9835 Brothers| FlareStrike, JuniperFur, LionPelt<br> &#9833 Sisters| FrostWind, FireDawn, HeatherStream<p> &#9834 Crush| None<br> &#9835 Mate| Looking<br> &#9833 Kits| None
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