Top critical review
Some sparks of joy in a dark sky
on 23 July 2010
Well it's either Ian McEwan being a less than clear writer or me being dense and I humbly suppose it is the latter, but at least one third of this book went way over my head. However as it all sped by through the clouds a few sunbeams penetrated through and landed on me. Solar energy `lite' as explained and exploited by the waddling Bad Boy Beard became slightly more understandable as I read on. Luckily someone at a party told me that 'Solar' is meant to be a comedy just as I'd begun reading it which helped me get a grip.
I actually liked Beard and kept with the book mostly for his sheer effrontery, greed, optimism and naughtiness. I took to his daughter Catriona and I admired his wives. I enjoyed being part of his thought processes and felt an understanding sympathy with his hopeless behaviour. The surprise finding of his wife's dead lover and Beard's arrangement of the situation all made a sort of mad sense.
Ian McEwan never writes the same book twice and so you can't account for what he will come up with next. I will stick with him through thick and thin because of his hugely satisfactory earlier works but with the pickings becoming ever more slender for me, I just have to appreciate what he writes that I can `get'. This time it was the Physics Laureate Professor Michael Beard, the Chief, who for me had a certain kind of ghastly charm!