Professor Michael Beard won the Nobel Prize in Physics but he is a compulsive consumer of women and junk food. Can he find a source of green energy before his dodgy private life catches up with him? A book about climate change with an unappealing central character should not work but McEwan blends science, comedy and satire into something eminently readable and thought-provoking.
Then his gaze was rotated southwards through a silvery haze over the Weald of Sussex towards the soft line of the South Downs, whose gentle folds once cradled his raucous first marriage, a synaesthesia of misguided love, infant excrement and the wailing of the lodgers' twins, and the heady quantum calculations that led, fifteen years and two divorces later, to his prize. His Prize, that had half blessed, half ruined his life.