Nutshell, Ian McEwan (2016)

A story narrated from the perspective of a child in utereo. We have all been there. A place where you are totally at the mercy of those around you, essentially useless. It is the one passage of time that each human experiences: being carried, birth. It is different to that other experience we will all experience: death. 

There is no need for an introduction to Ian McEwan. He is one of the greatest novelists; there’s no ‘in our time’ required. He is the novels’ Bob Dylan, a writer of profound simplicity and style. There’s no reinvention required. It is about character.

My favourite line: memories are poor for past failures. 

A soon to be first time mother. A husband- a poet, a man who wants to be loved. And a brother, successful, secure and loyal to his brother’s wife. And we learn this from the baby who is privy to every conversation, the ultimate omnipresent narrator.

The tingle you get from reading McEwan comes from how thoughts and feelings are captured. Here the unborn feels it’s mother’s heart beat increase; it feels stress; it changes moods with a glass of wine. It worries when it hears of a plot to kill it’s father. 

A life ends, a life begins. The only compliant? Like life, it’s too short. 


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