NUT­SHELL

North & South - - Re­view - in­ter­na­tional books edited by stacey anyan

IAN MCEWAN (JONATHAN CAPE, $38) “So here I am, up­side down in a woman. Arms pa­tiently crossed, wait­ing, wait­ing and won­der­ing who I’m in, what I’m in for.” This is how we’re in­tro­duced to Nut­shell’s un­named nar­ra­tor: a preter­nat­u­rally pre­co­cious foe­tus cur­rently re­sid­ing in Trudy, who her­self is res­i­dent in her es­tranged hus­band John’s ram­shackle, yet enor­mously valu­able, Lon­don house. His un­cle, Claude, is con­tin­u­ally com­ing and go­ing and it seems a mur­der­ous plot is afoot. All the while our nar­ra­tor is lis­ten­ing in and spec­u­lat­ing on what might hap­pen next – and what it means for him. The voice of the om­ni­scient un­born child takes a lit­tle ac­cli­ma­tis­ing to, but this up­date of Ham­let has plenty of pace and many a twist, so the end comes quickly.

MICHAEL HENRY

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