Nutshell

Nutshell Book Cover Nutshell
Ian McEwan
Fiction
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I imagine that when Ian McEwan sits down to write a new novel, he says to himself, “What corner of human morality should I examine this time?” Then he creates a couple of characters, everyday people we might meet at a dinner party or in the school playground, sets them in a situation, and proceeds to eviscerate them. He’s a master at this and every line counts; every sentence brings us closer to understanding who these people are and what they’re up against.

As I’ve come to expect from Ian McEwan, Nutshell delivers one little punch after another, page after page.

In his new book, Nutshell, McEwan has chosen a foetus as his narrator. If you have ever wondered what a foetus is thinking, here is your answer. It is clever, it is craving knowledge and experience, love and, above all, freedom. This particular foetus is horrified by what is happening in the lives of its parents. As it riffs on that and on its perceived state of the world as learned through podcasts and radio shows its mother listens to, it comes to understand where it’s headed.

I won’t say a word about the characters or plot because, as I’ve said, every sentence counts in McEwan, and I don’t want to give anything away. Telling you even the sex of the foetus, will detract from your experience of a sensuous bit of writing.

As I’ve come to expect from Ian McEwan, Nutshell delivers one little punch after another, page after page. It is a witty, running commentary of a novel, one of his finest.

ian mcewan author photoIan McEwan is the bestselling author of fifteen previous books, including the novels Sweet Tooth; Solar, winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize; On Chesil Beach; Saturday;Atonement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the W. H. Smith Literary Award; The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both short-listed for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize; and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award; as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets.

Lynn Thomson
Lynn reads mostly fiction: a mix of new and older books; a lot of Canadian; books for teens; classics. In non-fiction, she enjoys travel memoirs and natural history, but has been known to read the occasional history or science book just for fun.