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Book Review – Solar by Ian McEwan

Photo by Justin Dickey on Unsplash

23rd October 2016

As part of my degree, we are encouraged to read as much as possible. This week, I read Solar by Ian McEwan, one of the most cited books in the Cli-Fi genre. The book spans many geographical regions, including the UK, Norway and the US. It encompasses love, infidelity, divorce and death (though not necessarily in that order) and McEwan does a great job of creating exceptionally believable characters.

The book follows a primary character in the form of Nobel award-winning Professor Michael Beard, who has a very messy personal life to say the least. The Professor ends up working on a solar powered solution to tackle climate change – an idea that doesn’t belong to him.

Personally I didn’t find the plot that interesting, but I think the characters helped keep the story moving. I think McEwan also did well to incorporate humour in a book about climate change, which as per all the praise on the inside book cover, seemed to be appreciated by critics in kind.

By far and away, the biggest takeaway for me was the way in which McEwan communicated climate science throughout. It’s difficult to weave climate science into a story in a way which avoids ‘lecturing the reader’. But McEwan cleverly uses the Professor to relay this information and you never feel like you are being ‘given a lesson’ in climate change.

I would also like to applaud McEwan for his extremely well researched climate change information; for someone who isn’t an expert in climate science, he did an excellent job in showing that the Professor was.

My debut children’s picture book, Hedgey-A and the Honey Bees, is about the need to protect bees from pesticide pollution. It can be purchased online here.

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