When I first heard about the premise of Ian McEwan’s newest novel, I was intrigued. While the idea of Nutshell is really original, I’m not sure it worked as well as it could have.
The narrator of the story is a nine-month old unborn child who’s still in the womb of his mother, Trudy. I was excited to see how McEwan would handle the storytelling through this character who, so far, has a very limited experience of the world.
Maybe McEwan had too much fun with this narrative method? Although the writing, as always, was impressive, I had trouble suspending my disbelief. For example, even if this child has been exposed to so much wine, how can he be able to discuss it so fluently for pages at a time? McEwan does provide some nifty explanation as to why this child is so knowledgable: Trudy spends a lot of time listening to podcasts. I found these monologues fun at first, but I grew tired of them as the book wore on. I felt as though this child was lecturing me.
The originality of the narrator’s worldview in Nutshell quickly wore off for me. Though the concept and writing is strong, I think this book would have been more successful as a short novella instead of a full length novel.
Will you be reading this book?
Editor: Ian McEwan
Publisher, year: Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2016
Chic rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆