Nutshell: A Novel (Paperback)

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Nutshell: A Novel By Ian McEwan Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

What an outrageous and riotous premise for a novel. The unborn son of cuckolded father floats in utero as he witnesses his self-centered mother and louse of an uncle carrying on their woozy affair and plotting the demise of unsuspecting dad. McEwan’s exquisite writing gives the story just the right touch of wry elegance. It’s just the best.  -- Susan, Redbery Books, Cable, Wisconsin

— From Staff Picks


NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A “suspenseful, dazzlingly clever and gravely profound” (The Washington Post) novel that brilliantly recasts Shakespeare and lends new weight to the age-old question of Hamlet's hesitation, from the Booker Prize winner and bestselling author of Atonement.

Trudy has been unfaithful to her husband, John. What’s more, she has kicked him out of their marital home, a valuable old London town house, and in his place is his own brother, the profoundly banal Claude. The illicit couple have hatched a scheme to rid themselves of her inconvenient husband forever. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.

As Trudy’s unborn son listens, bound within her body, to his mother and his uncle’s murderous plans, he gives us a truly new perspective on our world, seen from the confines of his.

Don’t miss Ian McEwan’s new novel, Lessons.

About the Author

IAN MCEWAN is the critically acclaimed author of seventeen novels and two short story collections. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child in Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; The Cement Garden; Enduring Love; Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize; Atonement; Saturday; On Chesil Beach; Solar; Sweet Tooth; The Children Act; Nutshell; and Machines Like Me, which was a number-one bestseller. Atonement, Enduring Love, The Children Act and On Chesil Beach have all been adapted for the big screen.

Praise For…

A New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Minneapolis Star Tribune,

“Smart, funny and utterly captivating.” —The New York Times

“More brilliant than it has any right to be.... Suspenseful, dazzlingly clever and gravely profound.” —The Washington Post

“Fantastically entertaining and frequently hilarious.” —San Francisco Chronicle
Nutshell is a joy: unexpected, self-aware, and pleasantly dense with plays on Shakespeare.” —NPR

“Compact, captivating ... The writing is lean and muscular, often relentlessly gorgeous.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Gorgeous.... Offer[s] the reader a voice both distinctive and engaging.... Rife with wordplay, social commentary, hilarity, and suspense. . . . Hats off to Ian McEwan.” —The Boston Globe

“A comic tale.... It is a masterpiece.” —The Times (London)

“McEwan is a literary pointillist—in control of each keystroke, creating small, precise masterpieces that delight with their linguistic prowess.... [A] daring thriller.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“Brilliant.... This novel is a thing of joy.” —The Economist

“Brims with literary allusions, social commentary and murderous intrigue ... Gorgeous ... studded with Joycean reflections on fathers, the wisdom of pop songs and reviews of placenta-filtered fine wine.” —Associated Press

Nutshell is an orb, a Venetian glass paperweight of a book.... It is a consciously late, deliberately elegiac masterpiece, a calling together of everything McEwan has learned and knows about his art.” —The Guardian (London)

“An enthralling read.” —Marie Claire

Nutshell belongs to that dark tributary of McEwan novels which includes The Cement Garden, The Innocent and Booker-winner Amsterdam—black comedies aswirl with macabre thoughts and foul deeds. It sees McEwan at his most playful.... [Readers should] applaud it for its beauty, precision and inventiveness.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A book pulsing with hilarious and brainy brio.... He simultaneously spoofs crime fiction and finds a novel mouthpiece for a mordantly entertaining and exhilaratingly intelligent commentary on the modern world.” —The Sunday Times (London)

“[A] tour de force.... A slim, clever thriller with the grand good fortune of being written by the inimitable McEwan.” —Buffalo News

“Not only does he pull it off, he does so triumphantly, in the cleverest book I’ve read this year. It’s smart, dark and at times very funny.” —The Daily Mail

“A highly original, imaginative thriller that is as entertaining as it is suspenseful.” —Buzzfeed

Nutshell may be a short book, but it is not hard to crack. And what lies within—the suspense of a murder plot, the matching game that’s played when a classic story is retold, and the unique perspective of an unborn narrator—is quite pleasurable to both pick through and savor.” —AV Club

“This dark, clever tale is among the best of McEwan’s newer novels.” —The Sunday Telegraph (London)

“Fiercely intelligent.... At once playful and deadly serious.... One of McEwan’s hardest to categorize works, and all the more interesting for it.” —The Times (London)

“Hilarious and compelling.” —The Spectator

“A creative gamble that pays off brilliantly.... Witty and gently tragic, this short yet utterly bewitching novel is an ode to humanity’s beauty, selfishness and inextinguishable longing.” —Mail on Sunday

Product Details
ISBN: 9780525431947
ISBN-10: 0525431942
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Pages: 224
Language: English