Solar by Ian McEwan.

Now take that man on a more personal level. His marital and social life is in chaos. He has married five times and deceived all his wives . He is lascivious and greedy, hence his increasing bulk and sagging flesh. However, despite his unprepossessing appearance, he is still a serial seducer. To add to all this, his present wife is having an affair in revenge for his philandering.

His professional standing is revived when he gets drawn into the drive to protect the environment. He is about to introduce a non-polluting energy-producing machine to the world public. The event is to happen in New Mexico to an accompaniment of the beating of drums and a mass audience. How this is disrupted I leave readers to find out for themselves.

The red thread throughout the story is how his personal and public lives begin to merge. You may wish to skip the lengthy scientific explanations and simply read the plot as it unfolds, in its myriad but intriguing directions. Whichever way you slice it, you'll find the story fascinating.

Len Goodman

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