- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (May 30, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0525431942
- ISBN-13: 978-0525431947
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 815 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nutshell: A Novel Paperback – May 30, 2017
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“Smart, funny and utterly captivating.” —The New York Times
“More brilliant than it has any right to be. . . . Suspenseful, dazzlingly clever and gravely profound.” —The Washington Post
“Fantastically entertaining and frequently hilarious.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Nutshell is a joy: unexpected, self-aware, and pleasantly dense with plays on Shakespeare.” —NPR
“Compact, captivating . . . The writing is lean and muscular, often relentlessly gorgeous.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Gorgeous. . . . Offer[s] the reader a voice both distinctive and engaging. . . . Rife with wordplay, social commentary, hilarity, and suspense. . . . Hats off to Ian McEwan.” —The Boston Globe
“A comic tale. . . . It is a masterpiece.” —The Times (London)
“McEwan is a literary pointillist—in control of each keystroke, creating small, precise masterpieces that delight with their linguistic prowess. . . . [A] daring thriller.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“Brilliant. . . . This novel is a thing of joy.” —The Economist
“Brims with literary allusions, social commentary and murderous intrigue . . . Gorgeous. . . studded with Joycean reflections on fathers, the wisdom of pop songs and reviews of placenta-filtered fine wine.” —Associated Press
“Nutshell is an orb, a Venetian glass paperweight of a book. . . . It is a consciously late, deliberately elegiac masterpiece, a calling together of everything McEwan has learned and knows about his art.” —The Guardian (London)
“An enthralling read.” —Marie Claire
“Nutshell belongs to that dark tributary of McEwan novels which includes The Cement Garden, The Innocent and Booker-winner Amsterdam—black comedies aswirl with macabre thoughts and foul deeds. It sees McEwan at his most playful. . . . [Readers should] applaud it for its beauty, precision and inventiveness.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A book pulsing with hilarious and brainy brio. . . . He simultaneously spoofs crime fiction and finds a novel mouthpiece for a mordantly entertaining and exhilaratingly intelligent commentary on the modern world.” —The Sunday Times (London)
“[A] tour de force. . . . A slim, clever thriller with the grand good fortune of being written by the inimitable McEwan.” —Buffalo News
“Not only does he pull it off, he does so triumphantly, in the cleverest book I’ve read this year. It’s smart, dark and at times very funny.” —The Daily Mail
“A highly original, imaginative thriller that is as entertaining as it is suspenseful.” —Buzzfeed
“Nutshell may be a short book, but it is not hard to crack. And what lies within—the suspense of a murder plot, the matching game that’s played when a classic story is retold, and the unique perspective of an unborn narrator—is quite pleasurable to both pick through and savor.” —AV Club
“This dark, clever tale is among the best of McEwan’s newer novels.” —The Sunday Telegraph (London)
“Fiercely intelligent. . . . At once playful and deadly serious. . . . One of McEwan’s hardest to categorize works, and all the more interesting for it.” —The Times (London)
“Hilarious and compelling.” —The Spectator
“A creative gamble that pays off brilliantly. . . . Witty and gently tragic, this short yet utterly bewitching novel is an ode to humanity’s beauty, selfishness and inextinguishable longing.” —Mail on Sunday
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.
Top customer reviews
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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,"