Nutshell by Ian McEwan is a tale of murder and deceit told by an unborn child near to term. This is no ordinary child – he is well read and erudite with a strong grasp of world politics, his understanding drawn, no doubt, from his mother’s avid podcast listening. He has an understanding of familial ties and worries about the his own future and that of his parents. It is clear from the start that his mother Trudy and her lover, his uncle Claude, are plotting to kill his father – this short novel a reworking of Hamlet. Although the foetus’s attention is on the outside world, the uterine environment is realistically created, from the tight fit of late term pregnancy and the sounds of Trudy’s internal organs to the effects of her drinking and her and Claude’s amatory gymnastics. This may sound contrived but the reader is swept along by McEwan’s prose and the hope that somehow this retelling will not end like Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
A more detailed review can be found here.