Solar Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Solar

The story is about an old scientist trying to reverse climate change by inventing a new type of energy. Michael Beard is an old physicist. He won the Nobel Prize for physics when he was very young. Now he is just an old man who can't control his appetite. He is a total slob, he drinks a lot and he is stuck giving lectures and endorsing insignificant projects about alternative energies. He was married five times and he cheated on all his wives. Now he is married to a much younger woman and she is cheating on him with a plumber. His personal life is a total mess and his career is almost nonexistent.
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One day, a young postgraduate physicist from the research team tells Michael about his recent venture in the field of solar energy. He says that he is about to discover a new device that can produce solar energy at a very reasonable price. Michael is bored and much more preoccupied with the recent discovery that his wife is cheating on him so he sends the man away.

Then, Michel is invited on a trip to the Arctic Circle along some prominent men and women from different fields of study in order to observe the progression of the global warming and the melting of the icebergs. The trip makes him feel even more like an old, pathetic, worthless man but when he returns home something strange happens and he starts a new and more meaningful life.

The postgraduate physicist that told him about his new project dies right under Michel's astonished eyes in a meaningless accident. He trips on a loose carpet, hits his head on a table corner and dies. Michael finds out that the man left him a copy of his studies on solar energy and he embarks on the project of his lifetime. He claims that the studies where his own work and starts gathering funds in order to build the new device that will produce cheap solar energy and save the humankind from disaster.   

He travels a lot to the United States and he seems to have found his purpose in life. The device is taking shape nicely and it is going to be fully functional and ready to be tested in no time.

But all of Michel's unsolved problems are catching up with him one day and the project is coming to an abrupt halt. A lawsuit is ruining his discovery. The whole world finds out that he stole the research from the dead guy and he is dishonored and reduced to nothing all over again.A man that is incapable of solving his own issues can not save humanity from disaster after all.
Best part of story, including ending: The story is too depressing.

Best scene in story: I like the scene where old Michael is trying to pee in the horrible cold at the Arctic Circle. It is funny.

Opinion about the main character: I don't like the fact that Michael is a procrastinator. He just doesn't realize that all his problems are going to catch up with him at some point.

The review of this Book prepared by Andreea Lupei a Level 5 American Goldfinch scholar

Chapter Analysis of Solar

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Life of a profession:    -   scientist/scholar Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   scientist Age:    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British Unusual characteristics:    -   Extremely cynical or arrogant


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   West Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Misc setting    -   scientific labs

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   actual description of hetero sex Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Solar

Ian McEwan Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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