I would happily read a washing machine instruction booklet written by McEwan. Nutshell doesn’t disappoint – language, wit, social commentary, and a high-concept delivered well all the way through the last page.
— Ingrid at Laurel Village
A New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book One of the Best Books of the Year: San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Oprah.com
Trudy has been unfaithful to her husband, John. What’s more, she has kicked him out of their marital home, a valuable old London town house, and in his place is his own brother, the profoundly banal Claude. The illicit couple have hatched a scheme to rid themselves of her inconvenient husband forever. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.
As Trudy’s unborn son listens, bound within her body, to his mother and his uncle’s murderous plans, he gives us a truly new perspective on our world, seen from the confines of his. McEwan’s brilliant recasting of Shakespeare lends new weight to the age-old question of Hamlet's hesitation, and is a tour de force of storytelling.
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.
“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