This review was written by Cynthia Haskell, a member of the Tuesday Evening Book Club.

As its name suggests the central premise of this book is solar engery and climate change, but there is a lot more going on than that.

My fellow book club members and I could not warm to the central character by the name of Beard, an unprincipled, self-deceiving and philandering Professor of Physics, who also has an unhealthy, self-destructive appetite for food and drink, bordering on gluttony. However, McEwan wants the reader to be repelled by this character. Jennifer Byrne of the ABC's "The First Tuesday Book Club",claimed that Beard is, in fact, a clever analogy for the way we, as humans, are killing the planet through our harmful habits. A poignant anecodote recited by one of Beard's, idealistic, young colleagues, Aldous, may resonate with readers, as it did with me. A man was cutting down the trees in the jungle to alleviate his thirst by driinking the sap, but he never thought of drinking the rain instead. Aldous believed that future generations would look back and be amazed why we continued to use coal and other fossil fuels when there was so many other natural energy sources we could harness.

Solar is not without humour. One of many examples is where Beard believes his penis has dropped off due to frostbite while on a trip to the Arctic. McEwan's descritption of the event and its happy resolution made me laugh out loud. Solar also has the elements of a thriller, encompassing the themes of murder, corruption and becomes quite a page turner in the latter section.

McEwan's literary style in this book will not disappoint his fans, his facility with vocabulary and eloquent prose are to die for, and the painstaking research about physics, if a lttle unfathomable to the layperson, is to be admired.

Even if you are a climate change sceptic, I urge you to read Solar.

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