Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She's still in the marital home - a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse - but not with John. Instead, she's with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb.
Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world's master storytellers.
An astonishing act of literary ventriloquism unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master... Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a shocking tale of murder and treachery from one of the world's master storytellers. * Daily Telegraph * A creative gamble that pays off brilliantly...Witty and gently tragic, this short, bewitching novel is an ode to humanity's beauty, selfishness and inextinguishable longing. -- Hephzibah Anderson * Mail on Sunday * Ian McEwan's embryonic spin on Hamlet is a virtuoso feat of wordplay ... Virtuoso entertainment. -- Tim Adams * Observer * While the literary device of an unborn baby narrating a novel from the womb is hardly original... Ian McEwan employs it with aplomb... Here everything is tightly controlled and the tension ratchets up as our all-knowing unborn watches helplessly from his watery sack while the dastardly plan progresses through a series of nail-biting moments... The ending is beautifully contrived... The book is elegantly written with plenty of pungent, topical observations upon the world. -- John Harding * Daily Mail * At once playful and deadly serious, delightful and frustrating it is one of McEwan's hardest to categorise works, and all the more interesting for it. -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst * The Times * Nutshell is an orb, a Venetian glass paperweight, of a book; a place where, be warned , it puts you in the quoting mood...it is a consciously late, deliberately elegiac , masterpiece, a calling together of everything McEwan has learned and knows about his art. -- Kate Clanchy * Guardian * A very alternative Hamlet... the tension ratchets up as our all-knowing unborn watches helplessly from his watery sack while the dastardly plan progresses through a series of nail-biting moments... The book is elegantly written with plenty of pungent, topical observations upon the world its narrator will soon be emerging into. -- Daily Mail * John Harding * One of the most hilariously unlikely narrators in contemporary fiction. -- Claire Lowdon * Sunday Times * A fast, arch beach read... A psychological thriller with a bad marriage and murder at its centre... McEwan has thrown in Gone Girl intrigue with The Girl on the Train suspense and given us his take on how toxic a marriage can get when spliced with a Shakespearean cast. Who knew McEwan could mix high and low literary genres to create such a bizarrely readable mash-up? -- Arifa Akbar * Independent * The book's finest exploration is of poetry. The author offers up everything he knows about its intensity, and why he loves it so. It is clear Mr McEwan has had enormous fun writing Nutshell; now it is the reader's turn to be entertained too. Dark as it is, this novel is a thing of joy. * The Economist * McEwan's latest novel features all his hallmarks: elegant plotting, suspense, good characterisation and a chilling awareness of just how unpleasant people can be... Witty and thoughtful, this short, engaging novel punches well above its weight. -- Vanessa Berridge * Daily Express * As we read this tight little novel - like a foetus in the womb - grows into something much grander and weightier than itself. -- Daniel Swift * Spectator * McEwan has always been an artist in the Alfred Hitchcock vein in that what's most interesting and appealing about his work tends to come from his extreme technical mastery of his medium. -- Christopher Taylor * Financial Times * [A] crisp, cool tale [which] contains, in a nutshell, the kernel of Hamlet... The real wonder is that this novel's deft, light prose and belting pulse-rate can transport all this freight. Every sentence has its ghost, every word its pun. The bard's wisdom becomes the novelist's wit... Nutshell is a high-risk, high-wire act, brilliantly executed. -- Frances Wilson * Times Literary Supplement * McEwan carries it off with aplomb... [Nutshell] brims with life. In a nutshell, shall we say, it's a corker. -- Sebastian Shakespeare * Tatler *