Book Review - Nutshell

by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape) ISBN 9781911214335 

As a big fan of Ian McEwan, well-known author of Atonement (film won Golden Globe), Amsterdam (Booker Prize), and The Children Act  to name a few, I was looking forward to his newest book. And yes, he did it. He managed to enthral me again. Nutshell is original and nothing is predictable. This short, wonderfully different book is skilfully crafted, with believable characters. 

A very convincing unborn child tells the Hamlet story of his mother Trudy and the brother of her husband John, her lover Claude. They are plotting the murder of John, Trudy’s husband and father of the foetus. The unborn son is trying to prevent this, but feels restricted (“Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space –were it not that I have bad dreams.”) Trudy is of course a reference to Gertrude and Claude to Claudius. 

The neonatal narrator is intelligent and gets a lot of information from the radio podcasts his mother listens to and loves the Sancerre wine his mother drinks. 

Brilliant and funny. Thought provoking. Full of word play. Highly recommended. 

Pauline Vijverberg 


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