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Quick Lit Bits: 'Solar'

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By Ian McEwan

This was my first leap into the world of Ian McEwan and I wasn't disappointed. Published in 2010, “Solar” earned McEwan the Wodehouse Prize and for good reason. P.G. Wodehouse was the master of bright, crisp and wickedly satirical novels about Brits. And McEwan proves he’s a master of it as well in this funny, complex novel.

Sometimes I really enjoy unlikable main characters and the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, overweight womanizer Michael Beard falls into that category. Michael is an unrepentant philanderer, cheating repeatedly on each of his five former wives. As a physicist, Michael reached his peak – thirty years ago – and had been coasting on fumes ever since, until he runs across the papers of a colleague with plans.


After a freak accident, his personal and professional life become entwined which gives him the chance to dispose of some personal baggage – through an accidental death and framing another for murder – while advancing his career and possibly saving the world from environmental disaster in the process. Does he finally succeed after he has tilted the playing field in his favor? Can he actually tilt the playing field without it tilting back against him?

It’s a story about ambition, justification and deception. But what makes it special is that McEwan takes on a tough subject – global warming – and finds a way to make it extremely funny.



About the Author
A Juilliard-trained writer, Kevin Kizer has fought against numerous world-champion writers during his career, besting the reigning middle weight writing champion in an exhibition bout in Helsinki in 1976. He also played a crucial role on the U.S. gold-medal winning writing team during the 1984 Pan-Am games, where he came off the bench in dramatic fashion to write the winning prepositional phrase just as time expired.