Solar and a book group (and a tv addiction)

I finally managed to get along to a book group recently! And as I have finished my essay for my course (next one due in JULY!), narrowly avoiding the vital website going down this morning , I thought that I would finally get around to writing a new post…

I think that Solar by Ian McEwan was chosen partly because it is a bit of a man book. Its central character certainly does not waste too much time agonizing over the feelings of the female characters, including wives and lovers, except when those feelings have an impact on his own well being. Having said that, I also think that there is an element of this book which may encourage female readers to shake their heads pityingly and despair of men. Oh, and laugh at their absurdities.

Because in a way the central character in this novel, despite his five wives, worldwide fame and amazing survival skills despite his, quite frankly, enormous appetites, is absurd.  Michael Beard won a Nobel prize for an advance on an Einstein theory. No, I didn’t understand that bit either, but it seems that such science leads to green energy, or at least can do if the ideas of a young scientist are “improved upon”. You do not have to be a scientist to understand this book, but if you are, I dare say that it helps. (Same as for Big Bang Theory . I am addicted to it, despite O level biology grade A being my only qualification in the field. Some time ago…)

This is a funny book. There is a very funny episode involving a call of nature in freezing temperatures which I had to explain to someone in our group. Much merriment ensued…

This is also an annoyingly simplistic book, which does not answer reasonable questions. Why is the overweight, seemingly charmless and definitely hapless hero so irresistible to women?  How did McEwan contrive to construct such a convincing scientific breakthrough which is not real?   Why is it such an enjoyable book, such a funny book, one that I would cheerfully recommend to anyone who was not overly sensitive, given that his other books are so, well, depressing? I enjoyed Chesil Beach, liked the film of  Atonement even if I have failed to read the book, but both were sad, if not tragic. There is some sadness here, but often outweighed by the sheer daftness of the hero pretending to have a lady friend leaving the house by slapping the stairs, or eating crisps…

This is a good book which keeps you reading, even if it’s only because you do not really believe that the protagonist will get away with it… Definitely one to read and enjoy. As long as you’re not easy shocked

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