The premise of this story is brilliant: The narrator is a baby in utero who overhears his mother and her lover plotting a murder. The approach is fresh, and the prose is pure McEwan-beautiful. There were times, murder and all, when I laughed aloud. Not only is McEwan an amazing writer, but I was truly on the edge of my seat at the end of the book.
I listened to Nutshell as an audiobook, and it was done well. It’s a short novel – a novella, really – so the pace rarely flagged.
I had one major problem, hence only four stars. Pontificating. By McEwan. About the state of the world. Country by country. For pages on end. Bottom line, this book needed editing. I know how painful it is to cut what you’ve already written, and how much an editor fears suggesting telling as celebrated a writer as McEwan that certain parts of his book are over the top. But it would have made an excellent book into one that was positively superb.