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Friends of the Tauranga City Libraries Inc

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NUTSHELL 

by Ian McEwan

The story is narrated by a knowledgeable and most articulate unborn baby boy. He gets his intellect from listening to conversations and the many podcasts his mother listens to and already knows a great deal about world events, politics, environmental concerns, etc. He is very smart about wine too because his mother likes wine so the baby is often a bit tipsy!
This yet-to-born child becomes aware that his mother Trudy and her lover Claude are planning to murder his father John - who happens to be Claude's brother. Trudy is separated from her poet husband John but continues to live in the London home he inherited from his parents, while hubby languishes in a small apartment. The family property is worth millions of pounds, and the greedy adulterers plan to kill John, sell the house, and reap the rewards. 
Actually the baby has a lot to worry about as he ruminates about everything he overhears. The poor unborn must not only listen to the plot being hatched but to the rank pillow talk between hated uncle and beloved mother. He tries to come up with a plan to stop the terrible misfortune heading his father’s way but what can he do? He has some smart ideas but can he put them into effect?

This is a very strange brilliant and twisted tale, and I loved it and Ian McEwan’s writing is just beautiful!
I understand the story is a sort of modern take on Hamlet.


Reviewed by Jenny Cook