Nutshell is a classic story of murder and deceit, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master.
To be bound in a nutshell, see the world in two inches of ivory, in a grain of sand. Why not, when all of literature, all of art, of human endeavour, is just a speck in the universe of possible things?
©2016 Ian McEwan (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks
Ian McEwan back at his very best. Couldn't put it down. Very quirky and no idea which way it was going to go. Also got the ending right which hasn't always been the case. Also enjoyed the performance all round. Have already recommended this book, even though just finished.
The story's narrator is an unborn baby... I initially wondered how this would work - but it's engaging and generally excellent. There are brilliant flashes of humour, even though it's against a backdrop of a quietly unfolding thriller. Ian McEwen is at his finest.
If I could give this book 6/5 stars, I would. One of the best books I've ever read (or rather, heard). I have had to stop myself from going back for a 4th listen. One of those books you grieve for when it's finished. There is so much in it--every sentence is so elegant, rich, beautifully crafted and full of meaning. And the narrator (Rory Kinnear) is marvellous.
I particularly loved the narrator voice - a wise yet innocent and unknowing, unborn baby in the womb, hearing all and interpreting for us what he heard and surmised, A clever device that really worked for me.
I listened to the audiobook version of this book. The narrator was the only reason I 'read' the whole book. A cast of unlikeable and un-relatable characters. The fetus has the persona of a pretentious middle-aged professor who's intellect is unbelievable considering the likelihood of fetal alcohol syndrome. As a midwife I couldn't help but squirm at the birth scene (a caul cannot be shrugged off) - women's first labours generally take hours not minutes. Interesting concept though... I guess.
Rory is a fantastic narrator and saved the story
I hope not
The but is basically the rest of the story wasn't that fascinating. Two people plotting and eventually murdering another BIG DEAL. Not McEwan's finest
"Hilarious, thrilling story"
What a blast! A terrifically funny and thrilling murder story, told by an unforgettable narrator. One of the most entertaining books I've read in quite some time: this is Ian McEwan at his mischievous, exuberant best.
"i wanted more"
beautifully crafted, creative, insightful - i wanted more . I will listen to it again.
""a lucky beach""
Bless me! Here is Rory Kinnear reading Ian McEwan
I have only enjoyed language as much as I have this, with my first reading of Virginia Wolf.
We read or listen for all sorts of reasons. I am 'catching up' on all those decades when I had to get up for work in the morning. Taste does change and still some books can only be read in hard copy to be slowly enjoyed like Nabakov and. I had begun to think like Virginia Wolf. And Ian McEwan.
My choice of genre ranges far and wide and at times takes huge leaps of hope in choosing an audiobook.
Here we have Ian McEwan being read on audio by Rory Kinnear
I will have to find a hard copy though to learn if Ian M wanted a 'bow' to mean a pretty knot or a masculine curtsy. Such (maybe small) things pull up my blissful enjoyment of both story and words being read with so easy a voice.
"One of his best."
One of his best. My favourite living author. Lived up to all expectations. Utterly compelling. Brilliant writing as always.
"Hamlet From The Womb"
Only Ian McEwan . . . Hamlet from within the womb. It’s just so incongruent that it’s likely it simply won’t work for some readers. However if you can make the not insignificant mental leap of believing in an unborn baby with more sophistication than most of us ever manage (certainly me!) then the sheer quality of the writing carries the day. McEwan is an intelligent and observant writer who includes a lot of commentary about the human condition. His prose is extremely eloquent and the Shakespeare allusions don’t end with Hamlet. Hints of Macbeth raise their ghostly heads too.
The narration by Rory Kinnear is extremely well suited to the book and he delivers both the criminality and the not inconsiderable humour with aplomb. The story itself is actually a relatively simple one that's as old as the hills themselves. It's the unique point of view that sets it apart.
All this taken together makes this admittedly brief novel a satisfyingly original take on an old subject. If you value originality and quality writing then it’s well worth a go, just be prepared for the leap of faith that’s required from the very start.
"it’s always now, always here, never then and there"
This is an amazing book of the here and now, a snapshot of our present; a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions, a global ringing of bells and sirens of a world drowning in contradictions, of civilizations cultures and religions in full metamorphosys. Will it be a stillbirth? Or will the innocent pay for the crimes of the cognisant?
Human life commenting on humanity and all the demented happenings of today; I wonder if it is too contemporary to survive the future but perhaps it is us or I who will not survive the consequences of the here mentioned and this little Hamlet will continue to “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” questioning our humanity and our weaknesses and for ever floating into new minds to pose old questions.
A book that needs many reads and much consideration, no word is wasted, no one is safe and all is exposed with incisive commentary and dialog.
The gestation of thought and ideas in a nutshell.
Absolutely fabulous, fantastic story well told by Rory Kinnear. It is amazingly gripping throughout the whole tale.
"Not nearly as clever as it thinks it is"
Not nearly as clever as it thinks it is, even as farce.
All the characters were unlikeable
Including the foetus.
Not sure who this would appeal to!
Thankfully it was fairly short.
"Superb Writing Good Story"
A great idea brilliantly realised. Story telling and pace were perfect and the unusual narrator a stroke of genius.
Very well read too.
"Deep thinking author. Good, intelligent yarn."
Some well thought-out philosophies scattered throughout this murder plot story. Engaging book, & as always an intelligent script from this well known writer who is a polished expert in his art. Really liked the delivery of the narrator too.
"He's a proper writer, gov'nor"
Not a whodunnit, as you know who's going to do it from the start. The premise sounds silly and annoying, with the story told by the unborn child of the plotting-murderess. But, my goodness, he can write, and what a contrast to the last two I've read (Grisham and Horowitz, great storytellers but...) every word and sentence counts and is a literary masterpiece. But still edge of the seat stuff. On the highly recommended list. Ending leaves you hanging, but to be expected due to the expecting, I guess.
A great archetypal tale invoking all the passions and yet troubling the listener to put assumptions aside.
"Bit of a strange one"
Bit of a strange one but very interesting perspective, certainly unique. It didn't blow my mind but a good story overall
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