Saturday, March 05, 2016

Review of 'Solar'

A comic novel of sorts, with a rather nasty after-taste. It's well written, because McEwan  is a brilliant writer, and he has engaged with science (both the content and the organisational aspects) in some depth. But the main character is quite horrible, and it's impossible to ignore that the author has tried to make him more horrible by making him short and fat. Most of the other characters are horrible too, apart from the protagonists' long string of long-suffering wives and lovers.

There are great descriptions of the kinds of magical thinking and self-bargaining that goes on when anyone fails to resist temptation. Science Studies comes off rather badly - although McEwan isn't a physicist he does seem to have bought into the physicists' view of their own perceived place in the intellectual hierarchy. On the other hand, he does engage properly with climate change, even if he puts the arguments in the mouths of some horrid people.

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