Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gauging Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan spoke to Indrajit Hazra about viewing the world, his new novel and a scam he has been a part of. Find out what made the Booker-winning author of contemporary masterpieces decide on having climate change as the backdrop of his new novel.

You don’t ask Ian McEwan, one of the greatest novelists in any language of our times, a banal question. But then, if his latest novel, Solar, tells the story of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who becomes the public face of the world’s crusade against global warming and who gets caught up in the ensuing controversies, you just have to ask the question with a forced chuckle: “So did you know that something was wrong with the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report on climate change when you were writing this book?” Over the phone line connecting 10 am London to 3.30 pm New Delhi, McEwan’s disembodied voice calmly replies, “No, I didn’t.” After a pause he continues, “But I was following the issue. As for the error in the report on the retreat of the Himalayan glaciers, well, basic procedures like peer reviews had clearly not been enforced.”

So what made the Booker-winning author of such contemporary masterpieces like Enduring Love, Atonement and Chesil Beach decide on having the science of climate change and its accompanying din as the backdrop of this novel? It started in 2005 when he went on a trip to the Arctic as part of a group of writers, artists and scientists to observe climate change ‘first hand’. “Hurtling through the ice on a snow mobile, the idea crossed my mind: how about writing on this big issue of our times?” There was another origin to Solar too.

Full report here Hindustan Times 

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