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Nutshell

by Ian McEwan

Crime / Mystery eBooks of the Month Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on Nutshell

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

Maxim Jakubowski

Nutshell Synopsis

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller. 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.

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Nutshell Press Reviews

'An astonishing act of literary ventriloquism unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master... Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a shocking tale of murder and treachery from one of the world's master storytellers.' Daily Telegraph

'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

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

'While the literary device of an unborn baby narrating a novel from the womb is hardly original... Ian McEwan employs it with aplomb... Here everything is tightly controlled and the tension ratchets up as our all-knowing unborn watches helplessly from his watery sack while the dastardly plan progresses through a series of nail-biting moments... The ending is beautifully contrived... The book is elegantly written with plenty of pungent, topical observations upon the world.' -- John Harding Daily Mail

'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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781784705114
Publication date: 01/06/2017
Publisher: Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781911214335
Publication date: 01/09/2016
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781784705114
Publication date: 1st June 2017
Author: Ian McEwan
Publisher: Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 224 pages
Genres: Crime / Mystery, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About 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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