Archives for unreliable narrator

Book review: Nutshell

I can see Nutshell by Ian McEwan occupying many inches of column space this autumn. Where to start? You must have heard by now that this is the one about the foetus who overhears his mother Trudy and her lover, her brother-in-law Claude, planning to murder Trudy’s husband and father of the narrator. It is both ingenious and awkward. At one moment I would chuckle at the audacity of the unborn narrator and his take on life, the next I was hit by a brick wall – how would a foetus know that? He is an incredibly sophisticated, philosophical, well-educated foetus. I’m sure I missed loads of literary references. McEwan covers this off very early by saying his mother, Trudy, listens to Radio 4 documentaries by day and mind-improving podcasts by night. I know the reader is expected to suspend disbelief, as we do in the theatre, the fourth wall and all that; but in Nutshell the fourth wall is more a flimsy partition. Is it too clever? Perhaps. But the author is Ian McEwan whose books I love, so I was prepared to indulge him. At the back of my mind all the way through was, in this foetus
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Categories: Book Love.