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Review of Nutshell by Ian McEwan


Ian McEwan is an author who has never failed to satisfy me in any of his books I've read. Alas, there is a first time for that and this is it.


The narrator in the novel is a foetus soon to be born and narrating from inside the womb. There is his extremely alcoholic mother who has been separated from his father and then there is the uncle to be who happens to be sleeping with his mother. The uncle and mother decide due to the bad financial management of the uncle that they will murder his father.


All 4 of the characters annoyed me, that was not a good start.  And the novel sadly never recovered from that. And then the political rants from the foetus in it did not help.



I did have the hope that there might be one of McEwan's twists towards the end but to me, it just came across as contrived and meandering



Sadly the novel just left me bored, feeling empty and I couldn't wait to get it over with so I could start something now.




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I love Ian McEwan but I think that I may give this one a miss.  Just reading your comments about the book Iff have put me off.  It does sound as if it has not been well received at all which is surprising as McEwan is usually so good.  I guess even the best of writers fail every so often.

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  • 4 months later...

The novel is indirectly inspired by both Hamlet (cf. Claude = Claudius, Trudy = Gertrude) and Macbeth. It is strewn with allusions to both plays. If you don't pick up on that, then Nutshell probably doesn't make a great deal of sense. But if you do, it's a treat.

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