Now, I am aware that Ian McEwan has legions of fans, but I'm not really one of them, his books have always been a bit so-so for me. But I buckled down with the spiced tea and concentrated. For t'is about a prize winning physicist, Michael Beard. Physics. PHYSICS.
Now I should tell you at this point that I was allowed to go to the library during maths at grammar school (highly illegal I suspect, and would never be allowed now) but back in the days it was probably just a whole lot easier than having a 'disruptive influence' in the bottom stream of a maths class. I never even got to physics. Or algebra. Or Chemistry - though there was an incident of a small explosion that even now I shall gloss over.
So, my heart wasn't really in it, but I persevered - mainly thanks to the hideous weather outside and the Foursquare spiced rum in black earl grey - I urge you try it... And I'm so glad I did. There are two incidents in the book that had me spluttering with laughter into my tea cup. Our hero Michael Beard (small, podgy, six times married, greedy and with a good line in self deception) is on the back of a skidoo in the arctic attending a global warming conference and he is in desperate need of a wee. I shan't say any more, but it had me roaring with laughter. Oh, that and an incident on a train with a stranger and a bag of crisps.
His worlds collide and involve an accidental death, journeys to the Arctic Circle and New Mexico, an unwanted (by him) pregnancy of his girlfriend and yes, there IS quite a bit of physics thrown in. But even I could grasp it. Funny and thoughtful and wry and provoking. Do give it a go.
Now, I'm going to put the kettle on again. Spiced tea anyone?