Monday, June 21, 2010

GOM, SAD and Solar

It’s no coincidence I called myself a grumpy old man [GOM] in June [1], and I wrote of seasonal affective disorder [2] in July [3] and August [4]. For here in Tasmania the three winter months – June, July and August – are cold, dark and wet. Though feeding hay’s mandatory as is chainsawing a wattle that felled a fence last week, farm chores in winter are no fun. So it’s the perfect time to light the woodheater and curl up with a book. Last week I read Solar [5], the newest novel by acclaimed English writer Ian McEwan (pictured) [6]. I couldn’t wait to read a book marrying McEwan’s undoubted writing skills with the theme of global warming/climate change. But, sadly, my disappointment matched my expectancy. My major gripe was that the main character, Nobel Prize winning scientist Michael Beard, wasn’t likeable. And neither were the lesser characters. Also McEwan’s writing qualitys uneven; and big text chunks are irrelevant to the storyline. It needed, but didn’t get, a good edit. I doubt it’d have been published if penned by an obscure writer. I’ve whinged about mediocre books by other fantastic writers – John le Carré and Philip Roth [7, 8]. Solar joins this list. Whether it’s the halo effect, or because these writers are so famous and powerful that no publisher dares edit their work, it’s the readers who suffer. Or was it only that I read Solar in winter when I’m a GOM due to SAD? Ho hum.

P.S. Today’s the winter solstice. So from tomorrow, daylight hours will be longer.

No comments: