Michael Beard is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist (and compulsive overeater) whose best work is behind him. Trading on his reputation, he speaks for enormous fees, lends his name to the letterheads of renowned scientific institutions, and halfheartedly heads a government-backed initiative tackling global warming. Meanwhile, Michael’s fifth marriage is floundering due to his incessant womanizing. When his professional and personal worlds collide in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself for Michael to extricate himself from his marital problems, reinvigorate his career, and save the world from environmental disaster. But can a man who has made a mess of his life clean up the messes of humanity?
A complex novel that brilliantly traces the arc of one man’s ambitions and self-deception, Solar is a startling, witty, and stylish new work—Ian McEwan at his finest.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Solar|
|Release Date: 03-30-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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He belonged to that class of men—vaguely unprepossessing, often bald, short, fat, clever—who were unaccountably attractive to certain beautiful women. Or he believed he was, and thinking seemed to make it so. And it helped that some women believed he was a genius in need of rescue. But the Michael Beard of this time was a man of narrowed mental condition, anhedonic, monothematic, stricken. His ﬁfth marriage was disintegrating, and he should have known how to behave, how to take the long view, how to take the blame. Weren’t marriages, his marriages, tidal, with one rolling out just before another rolled in? But this one was different. He did not know how to behave, long views pained him, and for once there was no blame for him to assume, as he saw it. It was his wife who was having the affair, and having it ﬂagrantly, punitively, certainly without remorse. He was discovering in himself, among an array of emotions, intense moments of shame and longing. Patrice was seeing a builder, their builder, the one who had repointed their house, ﬁtted their kitchen, retiled their bathroom, the very same heavyset fellow who in a tea break had once shown Michael a photo of his mock-Tudor house, renovated and tudorized by his own hand, with a boat on a trailer under a Victorian-style lamppost on the concreted front driveway, and space on which to erect a decommissioned red phone box. Beard was surprised to ﬁnd how complicated it was to be the cuckold. Misery was not simple. Let no one say that this late in life he was immune to fresh experience.
He had it coming. His four previous wives, Maisie...