We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
Solar Audiobook

Solar

Regular Price:$20.72
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Audible Editor Reviews

Some people deserve everything horrible that happens to them. Michael Beard is definitely one of those people. Booker prize-winner Ian McEwan (Atonement, Saturday) has created the self-centered, loathsome character of Beard for his latest satirical novel, Solar, but you don’t really get the full effect of Beard’s appalling narcissism unless you listen to Roger Allam’s performance of the book.

Allam has one of those precise, slightly-condescending, upper-crust English accents that perfectly suits Beard’s character. You can clearly imagine Beard looking down his nose at everything the mere mortals around him say or do as Allam intones McEwan’s carefully chosen words. An award-winning stage actor who has also appeared in dozens of movies (The Queen, V for Vendetta) and television dramas, Allam specializes in portraying authoritative men with commanding stage presences. And like any great actor, Allam also manages to make us feel sympathetic for Beard — a pompous, adulterous, Nobel Prize-winning physicist — despite his monumental character flaws.

Without giving too much of the book’s ingenious plot away, Solar revolves around Beard’s marital troubles and his quest to discover an alternative energy source. Sounds noble on the surface, but Beard only really seems to care about finding a fashionable subject to research…while receiving a lucrative, six-figure paycheck for doing as little work as possible. The book may seem to jump at times from one location to the next, but McEwan weaves all the plotlines together in the final, brilliant chapter, set in the New Mexico desert. In the end, Beard — and patient listeners — are justly rewarded by McEwan in his latest, most amusing novel to date. — Ken Ross

Publisher's Summary

Universally acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest novelists, Ian McEwan is a Booker Prize-winning, best-selling literary master. He displays a fresh facet of his considerable talent in Solar, a satirical novel rife with blistering humor.

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Michael Beard is fast approaching 60, a mere shell of the academic titan he once was. While his fifth marriage falls apart, Michael suddenly finds himself with an unexpected opportunity to reinvigorate his career and possibly save humankind from the growing threat of global warming.

This audio includes an exclusive interview with the author.

©2010 Ian McEwan (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"A comedy every bit as brilliant as its title might suggest....Blazing with imaginative and intellectual energy, Solar is a stellar performance." (Sunday Times, London)

“A stunningly accomplished work, possibly [McEwan’s] best yet.” (Financial Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (376 )
5 star
 (107)
4 star
 (125)
3 star
 (76)
2 star
 (41)
1 star
 (27)
Overall
3.8 (185 )
5 star
 (65)
4 star
 (57)
3 star
 (32)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (11)
Story
4.1 (183 )
5 star
 (88)
4 star
 (52)
3 star
 (27)
2 star
 (13)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Yennta L.A., CA 02-28-11
    Yennta L.A., CA 02-28-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    260
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    147
    54
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    14
    1
    Overall
    "Not My Favorite, But Funny!"

    Very funny, but the guy is so hateful, you can't even pity him. My favorite is still "Saturday." This book is for serious fans, and I'm one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly 10-09-10
    Beverly 10-09-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    66
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Solar - or the dark side of science"

    I enjoyed every minute of this book. If you enjoy irony and a humorous peak into the darker motives of academe, you will also love this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cindy Gypsum, CO, United States 09-13-10
    cindy Gypsum, CO, United States 09-13-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    78
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    438
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "boring and waste of money"

    This book was boring. It never went anywhere interesting. Funny, it was not - the main character is a pathetic, egocentric, looser that ruins women's lives is not funny. A waste of money.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Reich Northern, CA 05-30-10
    Chris Reich Northern, CA 05-30-10 Member Since 2009

    Business Physicist and Astronomer

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1030
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    355
    154
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    157
    0
    Overall
    "Laugh out loud funny...and sometimes not."

    This is a very funny and odd book. You have to pay attention to catch the humor and stay on track. If you make a little effort, you'll get some great laughs and hear some very interesting points.

    As both a solar astronomer and someone who works in the solar industry, I really enjoyed the book.

    One caution. The humor is dry and not for everyone.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Alta Loma, CA, USA 05-24-10
    Susan Alta Loma, CA, USA 05-24-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Painful listening"

    I tried. I really tried to like this book, but just couldn't find any redeeming characteristics. Didn't like the characters, the plot, nor the narrator. Maybe it just didn't lend itself well as an audiobook. Can't understand the rave reviews from critics. I have never deleted an audiobook before, but I finally got so fed up I just couldn't take it anymore and did just that. Felt pretty good, I must say.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laurel 04-14-10
    laurel 04-14-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Often hilarious"

    Narrator does a great job with it, frequently laugh out loud funny. The protagonist is fairly despicable--you have to be willing to spend a lot of time with a raving egotist (but eventually everything catches up with him). McEwan can get bogged down in the science, which is the novel's main fault.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Preston Pate NC 04-09-10
    Preston Pate NC 04-09-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Solar"

    The written version may have been better, but I seriously doubt it. An endless connection, or disconnection, of metaphors and painful detail about a very boring protagonist in a failed attempt at humor.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SharkHunterSFO Las Vegas, Nevada 04-02-10
    SharkHunterSFO Las Vegas, Nevada 04-02-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    119
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    375
    50
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "What a disappointment"

    This is very slow moving book. It purports to be witty and humerus? However, the humor is juvenile and in most cases not very funny. I would recommend you save your money and buy another book.

    22 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Aptos, CA, USA 11-30-15
    Robin Aptos, CA, USA 11-30-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worth my time..."

    Though not quite as splendid as Atonement or On Chesil Beach I much appreciated the author's humor in drawing the character of Michael Beard. The story was followed by an excellent interview with McEwan which told much about his writing process and enhanced my appreciation after having read the book. I will most certainly read more of McEwan's works! Roger alum's reading playeda large part of my enjoyment

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah New York, NY 08-28-14
    Sarah New York, NY 08-28-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely hilarious"

    I don't know the last time I doubled over laughing while listening to a book. The main character is an utterly despicable anti-hero who just stumbles from one hilarious, self-inflicted disaster to another. I noticed there are a lot of negative reviews, and I was trying to figure out why. If you are easily bored by physics, or not familiar with the academic/scientific/tech world, it may not be for you. That's the only thing I can think of, because I really thought it was one of the best things I've read/heard this year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.