- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Nan A. Talese; 1 edition (September 13, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385542070
- ISBN-13: 978-0385542074
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 830 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nutshell: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 13, 2016
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“With Nutshell, Ian McEwan has performed an incongruous magic trick ... A smart, funny and utterly captivating novel ... A small tour de force that showcases all of Mr. McEwan’s narrative gifts of precision, authority and control, plus a new, Tom Stoppard-like delight in the sly gymnastics that words can perform.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Compact, captivating ... The writing is lean and muscular, often relentlessly gorgeous ... McEwan is one of the most accomplished craftsmen of plot and prose.”
—Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant . . . Surprisingly suspenseful, dazzlingly clever and gravely profound.”
—Ron Charles, Washington Post
“McEwan pulls it off. I bought the premise and never looked back . . . The most talked-about novel of the season.”
—Mary Roach, O, The Oprah Magazine
"As an example of point of view, you can look no farther than these gorgeous pages, which not only prove that brevity is the soul of wit but also offer the reader a voice both distinctive and engaging ... The reader [will be] speeding through every page, each one rife with wordplay, social commentary, hilarity, and suspense ... Hats off to Ian McEwan."
—Mameve Medwed, Boston Globe
About the Author
Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of sixteen books, including the novels The Children Act; 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.
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A tawdry murder plot and failed marriage provide the tension, a dim-witted uncle provides a foil and a highly astute fetus provides moving testimony and perspective. The novel is short, brilliant, and utterly captivating.
“So here I am, upside down in a woman. Arms patiently crossed, waiting, waiting and wondering who I’m in, what I’m in for. My eyes close nostalgically when I remember how I once drifted in my translucent body bag, floated dreamily in the bubble of my thoughts through my private ocean in slow-motion somersaults, colliding gently against the transparent bounds of my confinement, the confiding membrane that vibrated with, even as it muffled, the voice of conspirators in a vile enterprise. That was in my careless youth. Now, fully inverted, not an inch of space to myself, knees crammed against belly, my thoughts as well as my head are fully engaged. I’ve no choice, my ear is pressed all day and night against the bloody walls. I listen, make mental notes, and I’m troubled. I’m hearing pillow talk of deadly intent and I’m terrified by what awaits me, by what might draw me in.”
Can you resist this child?
Yet it takes the enormous literary genius of McEwan to create an extended dialogue, a vast soliloquy if you will, that allows the unborn Hamlet to construct thoughts that if only a fetus could talk, would represents the pinnacle of uterine soliloquys.
As McEwan has done before, so he has done again in a method and manner that clearly illustrates his authorial genius. No Shakespearean reader can pass up the genius and the intesity of McEwan's continuing literary brilliance!
I discovered the book in a very short ("Nutshell" report in the NY Times. The reviewer quoted the first lines & I was hooked. The first lines: “So here I am, upside down in a woman. Arms patiently crossed, waiting, waiting and wondering who I’m in, what I’m in for.” Set in London, the narrator is a fetus with an understanding of good music and NPR commentators.
From “his” unique perspective with legs curled under his chin and arms looking for space in the darkness, we meet: John (father) -- a poet in a world of his own who created the fetus who tells the story; Trudy -- a sweet but unloving wife carrying John’s child. Claude (John’s brother) -- having a hot affair with Trudy. Love & hate; husband and wife and lover; a murder --from conception to birth. (I had to say that!); and more. Our narrator has “an insider’s view of it all. In a nutshell, that’s Nutshell.
Nutshell is described as a "classic story of murder and deceit.” But -- What’s it all about? What does it mean? You can answer these questions after you romp through 199 pages. You’ll “get a kick” out of the story. McEwen “gives birth” to a funny thriller from a painfully unique perspective to an expected or unexpected ending. Nothing "cramps" his style as this "baby is born,"