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Ian McEwan: Americans did not get Solar

21st May 2010

Ian McEwan has made a few suggestions why latest novel Solar was poorly received by the US literary establishment.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Michiko Kakutani, a critic for the New York Times, claimed that the book is one of McEwan's 'lesser efforts' - a verdict described by the author as 'horrible'.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, McEwan suggested that the US audience did not 'get' Solar, explaining: 'Americans don't like an unattractive character who is not redeemed at the centre of a novel.'

The writer also said that British humour often falls flat in the US and cited Michael Frayn, Evelyn Waugh and Malcolm Bradbury as authors who experienced difficulty impressing American audiences with their works.

However, McEwan added that the novel, which concentrates on global warming, did find some fans in the scientific community and revealed that science biographer Graham Farmelo wrote to him in admiration of the book.

Many of the author's other works have been well received in the US, with Atonement winning the National Book Critics' Circle Fiction Award and the Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction in 2003.

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