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Ian McEwan’s warming tale

Ian McEwan’s new novel is a work of “lab lit” genre fiction. It lacks the punch of Atonement or the political ambition of Saturday—but is more fun than either

By Philip Ball   April 2010

Solar by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape, £18.99)

Literary reputation can be a violent field. After Ian McEwan’s 2005 novel Saturday—which several reviewers considered (unfairly) to be an insufferably smug depiction of Blair’s Britain in the approach to the invasion of Iraq—it looked as though a place was being prepared for him alongside Martin Amis on the pillory. Britain’s two most celebrated novelists, the story went, were getting above themselves, pronouncing on the state of the nation from what seemed an increasingly conservative position. And so it was time to take them down a peg or two.

Amis now seems…

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