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The Bibliophiliac’s Corner – “Nutshell”

Article and photo by Amanda Merriman

Connection writer Amanda Merriman admits she is hopelessly addicted to books.  It has been this way nearly all her life.  Every month she shares what she has been reading with the hope that others will share in the obsession too.

Excellent writing is at times quite a difficult undertaking.  However, Ian McEwan makes it look easy in his most recent book, “Nutshell.”  In a nutshell, (couldn’t help myself), McEwan took a new approach to the classic Shakespearean tragedy.   

Interestingly, Nutshell is told from the point of view of an unborn child.  This may seem a bit odd and hard to accept at first.  However, McEwan’s gift of prose will pull you into this amniotic world whether you like it or not.  McEwan is not afraid to explore the dark macabre recesses of human nature, and this book is no exception to his work.  The narrative will make you squirm at times as the yet to be born son endures all that his insufferable mother Trudy puts him through.  Trudy is a slovenly unhappy wife who, with her lover Claude’s help, is plotting to kill her husband.  Her unborn child seems to be an afterthought.  Despite her apparent apathy towards her son, her love of talk radio and wine have given him a knowledge of the world that is, ahem, beyond his years.  Perhaps he is just an old soul?  Either way, as Trudy and Claude bumble their way onward with their plans, the little “Hamlet” made me feel sorry for him and his future because of his circumstances.  

McEwan’s characters and world as experienced from prenatal confinement were believable and interesting.  It made me want to climb out of Trudy’s womb and see what the little guy was missing.  Science has shown that babies understand language from time spent in utero.  As I finished reading this story, I couldn’t help but think about the affects of words spoken around pregnant women.  Nutshell is a truly unique novel!

Fellow bibliophiles and book club members, feel free to join in the dialogue.  Blog your thoughts and feedback at and enter the keyword “bibliophiliac” in the search bar.  Have you read a great book recently?   Don’t keep that juicy tidbit all to yourself.  Email your find to me at



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