Friday, April 16, 2010

Walter Kirn disses Ian McEwan

I haven't read Solar, although I suspect I will sometime soon. Walter Kirn, no slouch as a novelist, thinks I better not though:

According to the perverse aesthetics of artistic guilty pleasure, certain books and movies are so bad — so crudely conceived, despicably motivated and atrociously executed — that they’re actually rather good. “Solar,” the new novel by Ian McEwan, is just the opposite: a book so good — so ingeniously designed, irreproachably high-minded and skillfully brought off — that it’s actually quite bad. Instead of being awful yet absorbing, it’s impeccable yet numbing, achieving the sort of superbly wrought inertia of a Romanesque cathedral. There’s so little wrong with it that there’s nothing particularly right about it, either. It’s impressive to behold but something of a virtuous pain to read.

That's either brilliant or nonsensical, I'm not sure which. The full review is here.


Reality Man said...

Kirn's oeuvre pales when compared to McEwan's: it is as if the younger Bush were to have criticized Jefferson. And "Solar" is really rather funny, nasty, and acute. I have not yet been able to finish anything of Kirn's.

Tripp said...

Concur, in my mind there is no doubt that McEwan > Kirn. I did like Up in the Air though. I have yet to see the movie.