FAW Chicago, IL Est. 1922
FAW Book Reviews

By Ian McEwan

Hardcover, 208 pages, Nan A. Talese; 1 edition (September 13, 2016)

Reviewed by Christine Spatara
November, 2016

I read this book so quickly that I feel I should read it again. It grabbed me completely, and I was overwhelmed. Once I started, I could not stop reading. So, I binged until the early morning hours. This is one of those MUST READ books.

McEwan, as we all know, is a master of the narrative and the guru of words. Whenever I read him, I am always humbled by his use of the English language. The words tumble one after the other as if a sentence will never reach an ending and we are spectators to his personal love of the written word. His descriptions are golden, transparent-- allowing the reader to see into the soul of his characters.

The Nutshell is narrated by a brilliant eight month old fetus--what else? This fetus has no name and he is suspended inside his sac in his mother's womb, and yet he is acutely aware of the world outside. He knows his mother is having an affair with his uncle and that his father has left the house because of his wife's infidelity. From this point on, I leave you to read and discover. All I can give away is that our fetus is caught in a Shakespearean drama, much like Hamlet. The adults around him have very little love or sympathy for his existence and so what is a fetus to do? I encourage you to read Nutshell and discover for yourself.