The Nutshell by Ian McEwan

er get the Kindle version, too.  (LOL!)   This is the old suspense-filled McEwan teamed up with the new more literary variety.



by Ian McEwan
2016 / 180 pages
read by Rory Kinnear 5h 26m
rating 9.25
******* –  

Yes, as all the reviews have mentioned,  this is a 1st person story but with the twist that it’s from a prenatal point of view.  Another twist is that it’s a reworked  story of Hamlet before he was born – except this child is in the present day.  I’m not a fan of the new and improved McEwan but a group chose it for discussion so I was  prepared to be completely bored and even annoyed at times.

Dear Reader,  I was wrong!  I found myself  listening  to the very early pages of the book when I picked up on the name “Trudy,”  as  being the fetus’ mother.  Oh yeah?  I’m certainly no Shakespeare scholar but I remembered that Gertrude was the name of Hamlet’s widowed mother.  And wasn’t Claudius Gertrude’s lover?  That must be Claude,  Trudy’s lover.  Hmmm…. bett

But who is this John Cairncross taking the place of “Ghost” (the deceased King Hamlet in the play).   Cairncross was a British WWII poet and spy/traitor?   John and the pregnant Trudy are estranged but John is trying to win her back.  Hamlet’s father was deceased – right? – right.

Nutshell is  beautifully written and has quite a lot of humor which is combined with some great  suspense as the plot develops.  Our child-in-the-making is quite knowledgeable and opinionated with a good sharp little wit about him for a seven-and-a-half-month old fetus.  He puts it together that Claude is John’s brother,  his own uncle and that he and Trudy are up to no good.

The child’s voice is really well done,  funny,  intelligent and sad with his awareness and responses to everything going on around him which is really tense with plot thickening around a murder plot.