Michael Beard is a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. A compulsive womaniser, Beard finds his fifth marriage floundering. But this time it is different: she is having the affair, and he is still in love with her.
When Beard’s professional and personal worlds collide in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself for Beard to extricate himself from his marital mess, reinvigorate his career and save the world from environmental disaster. Ranging from the Arctic Circle to the deserts of New Mexico, this is a story of one man’s greed and self-deception; a darkly satirical novel showing human frailty struggling with the most pressing and complex problem of our time.
This was our book club read for May and having not being over-impressed with The Children Act I approached this book with trepidation and it seems I was right too! This was a quote from quite early on in the book but it kind of reflects my feelings towards it.
“And that was the problem. Much of the time he did not know what they were saying.”
The book started off well; there’s humourous antics, in particular the artic arrival, the accident and crisps scenes did raise an eyebrow but the author’s choice in language coupled with no chapters and the constant pages of solid text with too much laborious description of the science and technology aspects did not sustain my interest or raise my enjoyment level.
It’s not even if there’s any relatable or engaging characters, the protagonist Micheal Beard is a first class tw*t, his behaviour, the way he treats people, his wives, he’s just not a nice bloke with this air of arrogance about him that he doesn’t seem to think he’s doing anything wrong.
In parts I started to feel a little sorry for him but overall I think he totally deserves what he got but even then he still manages to come up smelling of roses.
I’m so glad to have finished this book for 2 reasons; 1) so I can say I got to the end and 2) so I could start something far more interesting.
This is one of the most baffling and boring books I’ve ever read. I just don’t get all the hype that surrounds Ian McEwan’s books as they just have a way of making me feel totally uneducated and thick. Although at book club we did discuss the fact that he is able to write about an array of subjects extremely convincingly and with such thorough research that I totally believed everything he wrote – this I can appreciate. Overall, his books are just not for me so won’t be reading another!
Connect with the author Ian McEwan