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Author Podcast: Ian McEwan

abstract:Ian McEwan came to Vancouver this past week as a stop on his book tour to promote his new climate-themed novel, Solar (published by Nan A. Talese in the USA and Knopf in Canada). I had 4 tickets, but had to give them up due to the Iceland ash cloud. Funny that an ash cloud should preclude my "solar" experience, but I suppose that's poetic irony. While I would presently be offering you an exclusive podcast, if not for the ash factor, I will instead offer you this (pronounced in Shakespearean style) swipe-ed video interview obtained from his publisher. Try not to be distracted by the people walking past the window outside behind where IM is seated. I'm still trying to work out if this indeed is his London flat or whether it's his publisher, editor or publicist's flat, in which case they have much better accommodations than NYC publishers.

Ian McEwan is one of those authors who could write about paint drying and make it seem interesting, even dramatic. He once queried whether literary authors should pay more attention to plot in their writing? The plots in his novels are clever fancies of intricacy criticized by some. For pedantic requirements we list his recent novels many of which have been adapted into memorable films: Atonement, Saturday, Amsterdam, Enduring Love - eighteen titles in total. On Chesil Beach was a charming novelette about young love. In fact one would have to say love and all its many manifestations: passionate love, childish love, incestuous love, unrequited love, tragic love are all covered in McEwan's writing. Solar is a book about planetary love, or the sufficient lack thereof.

I wish I could tell you what McEwan is like in person. I wish I could tell you if he seemed jaded by success, or feigned mock coyness despite having it. I wish I could bring you the sound of his voice echoing in the open spaces of St. Andrew's Wesley Cathedral (a location that curiously made John Irving physically uncomfortable to speak in when he appeared here). I doubt that Ian McEwan is uncomfortable in churches, or on the set of a feature film he's adapted from one of his books, or riding in a plane first class around the ash cloud that now envelopes his emerald island home. Without further adieu, please enjoy this reading by Ian McEwan and then scroll down to listen to another of our BookBuffet Author Podcast series.


April 17, 2010
— Click here to hear McEwan read from Solar. (2:51min)
Click here to access the Random House interview. (6:40)

Reviews of Solar

  • The Guardian by Jason Cowley, March 14, 2010
  • The New York Times review by Michiko KakutaniI, March 29, 2010
  • The Globe and Mail reviewed by Zsuzsi Gartner, March 11, 2010


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