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Nutshell by Ian McEwan
  

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Maxim Jakubowski October 2016 Highly Recommended.

Possibly the most unusual crime book of the year insofar as it follows the story of a crime from the point of view of an unborn child, isolated inside his mother's womb but listening to all manifestations of the world outside through radio, voices, music and other stimuli. A daring conceit, which literary author McEwan just pulls off, despite a tendency to fall in love with his own words, but then wouldn't a foetus bombarded with the same information also end being so prolix and mimicking what he perceives? His mother is having an affair with his father's brother and they plot to eliminate the extraneous party. Can the foetus prevent the murder, will he side with either his mother or his father? Once you accept the far-fetched premise, the tale is both witty (never has a foetus enjoyed and described the wine his mother is drinking with such relish...) and actually quite suspenseful. In a year when two crime books have made the Booker Prize shortlist, it's a surprise that an obvious candidate like McEwan didn't, maybe because he borrowed a criminal plot! The tale's central character would have enjoyed this irony. ~ Maxim Jakubowski

If you like Ian McEwan you might also like to read books by Michael Frayn, John Lanchester and Simon Mawer.

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Synopsis

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She's still in the marital home - a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse - but not with John. Instead, she's with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb. Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world's master storytellers.

Reviews

'A creative gamble that pays off brilliantly...Witty and gently tragic, this short, bewitching novel is an ode to humanity's beauty, selfishness and inextinguishable longing.' -- Hephzibah Anderson Mail on Sunday

'One of the most hilariously unlikely narrators in contemporary fiction.' -- Claire Lowdon Sunday Times

'Ian McEwan's embryonic spin on Hamlet is a virtuoso feat of wordplay ... Virtuoso entertainment.' -- Tim Adams Observer

'Nutshell is an orb, a Venetian glass paperweight, of a book; a place where, be warned , it puts you in the quoting mood...it is a consciously late, deliberately elegiac , masterpiece, a calling together of everything McEwan has learned and knows about his art.' -- Kate Clanchy, Guardian

'At once playful and deadly serious, delightful and frustrating it is one of McEwan's hardest to categorise works, and all the more interesting for it.' -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Times

About the Author

Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children's novel illustrated by Anthony Browne. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, The Cement Garden, Enduring Love, Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize, Atonement and Saturday.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 2016

Author

Ian McEwan

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Author's Website

www.ianmcewan.com/

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Publisher

Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing

Format

Hardback
208 pages

Categories

Crime / Mystery
Maxim Jakubowski's Selection
Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781911214335

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