Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

From the Goodreads blurb: 

"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.

Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers."

I loved the concept - a foetus tells a story. I also thoroughly enjoyed The Children Act, which wasn't my first Ian McEwan novel.

The writing is clever, and beautifully structured. If you can get your mind around the fact that this foetus knows far more than can be absorbed through his sensory powers - hearing especially, and the disturbing middle-aged thoughts this tiny not-even-baby-yet has, you will enjoy this novel.

I didn't.

Many years ago my then fiancé now husband and I chose a diamond for an engagement ring, and when asked, we shared with the expert German jeweller our thoughts on design. We were so excited to see it the first time, and inspected it carefully, trying to hide our disappointment. "This isn't what we discussed," we finally admitted with no small degree of reluctance. "I know," he retorted with glee, "but I wanted it to look this way. I'll make you another." A week later we had our ring.

This is Ian McEwan telling a story his way. It had its moments, but mostly I didn't like the characters, didn't enjoy the perspective and all the rambling thoughts were clever, but annoying.

I can imagine Ian with his head to one side, and a half wry Mona Lisa smile reading this. It won't worry him. I think it is exactly the kind of review he was after.

ISBN: 9781911214335


1 comment:

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I have a love/hate relationship with Ian McEwan's books. I did love The Children Act...and Atonement. But so many of his are not books I loved. I am not sure about this one...and it's weird perspective could make me love it, or hate it.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.