29 responses

  1. I find McEwan really hit or miss. I loved Atonement and found Solar quite entertaining (although all I remember is a misunderstanding involving crisps), but couldn’t get through Saturday or Amsterdam. I might read this at some point but I think maybe your review is more entertaining than the book!

    • I agree. Loved the books I listed but thought Amsterdam, Saturday, Sweet Tooth and Enduring Love all so-so. My memory of Solar was similar to yours – one very scene (but I though it involved the main character needing to do a wee?!).
      If you haven’t read any of his more recent stuff I’d rate Children Act for the moral dilemma and Nutshell for the creative writing.

      • I’ve just come here having read the book – I usually don’t read blogs until I’ve written my own, but I only finished it today and my reading group is doing it tonight so I thought I’d do a quick whip around.

        I have to say that for me dissecting a novel nearly always makes me love it more. I guess I’m just weird!

        Anyhow, I haven’t read The children act, but have read at least 7: I’d put Atonement first, then On Chesil Beach, then Enduring love, and then Nutshell. (I’ve also read Saturday, Amsterdam and Solar.)

      • Hmmm, he says “inches” from his nose not touching his body. It made sense to me. And anyhow, I would never read something so fantastical as this literally anyhow. I’m sure anyone reading such a narrator would find the scenario describe completely comprehensible within the construct of the novel.

  2. Funnily enough dissecting a novel usually makes me love it more, and can result in my liking a book I didn’t initially like.

    And yes I like McEwan a lot, though I think On Chesil Beach is the last that I’ve read. I’d put Atonement first, then On Chesil Beach, and then Enduring love. I think that book has one of the best opening chapters I’ve read. I’ve read at least three others but these are my top three.

  3. I have no problem suspending disbelief when I read fiction and am usually very tolerant of things others hate. I mean an in utero narrator is completely improbable so if I accept that I can accept that that narrator knows stuff!

    • I’m the same although was wrong-footed at the beginning of this book because I thought it was somewhat serious – it quickly becomes clear that McEwan is having a big laugh.

  4. I’ve only read a handful of McEwan and I generally love them until the last quarter where he goes over the top: the man can’t do a sensible ending to save himself. (My favourite McEwan is the newspaper satire Amsterdam.) Funnily enough I heard him do a reading of Nutshell pre-publication at a Vintage showcase for bloggers and booksellers and he had everyone roaring with laughter. I think he really enjoyed himself reading (and writing) this book, so when I eventually get around to reading it I will know not to take things too seriously.

    • The ending of this one is appropriate. The book is not without a little bit of ranting but coming from a baby, it’s funny. Would have been great to hear him read!

  5. This sounds weird, but good. I like the Hamlet angle. But I think this’d be one of those read once and never again kind of books – definitely a library borrow. Unlike Atonement, which I could read forever.

  6. I think my love affair with McEwan has come to an end. The last two I read by him I didn’t rate at all – Saturday and the Children Act. He. Isn’t have had great fun writing Nutshell but the premise sounds awful to me.

  7. Prior to this one, I’d read Children Act (loved) and Sweet Tooth (only okay) but agree, two mediocre books in a row from one author is enough reason to break-up!

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