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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.0 out of 5
5 Stars
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4 Stars
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  • Fetus as narrator was not credible

    I have read other stuff of Ian McEwan’s- many years ago ‘The Cement Garden”- bleak, sexy and scary but very enjoyable. And I thought ‘Atonement’ was a very good read and it made a good movie, with the disturbingly delectable Keira Knightley. 'Nutshell’ was rather a disappointment to me. It’s very clever, but I just couldn’t adjust to the impossibly implausible portrayal of the foetus as an articulate adult, and I found that tiresome.Maybe I’m losing my sense of fun- I acknowledge that it’s an interesting slant, but it did get on my nerves. (Speaking of foetus - I’m surprised that a wordsmith of McEwan’s calibre would choose to stick with the incorrect ‘English’ spelling- the diphthong was incorrectly introduced in the middle ages and the American spelling is only correct by accident. Please forgive that morsel of gratuitous pedantry.) Not only did the fetus-as-adult annoy me, but I found all the characters strangely wooden- even the sex seemed (for McEwan) mechanical. By the way, what’s a clitoral snood? Besides, I had to look up ‘aporia’, but doubt whether I will remember what it means for long enough to drop it into a conversation. McEwan must be something of a Joycean- I noted early on, the unborn narrator reflecting “James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ sends her (his mother, that is) to sleep, even as it thrills me” and subsequently, out of the blue, there are two unacknowledged quotes from Ulysses which I think he inserted just for me. Some of it’s rather show-offy, like all the detailed references to vineyards etc, but depicting the fetus enjoying getting inebriated along with his mother was an inspired spin. The feral alcohol syndrome experts would not approve. One bit that I really enjoyed and must read again, if I can find it, (that's a problem I don't have with paper books) was John (the husband’s) speech in the kitchen reminiscing about the time when he and Trudy first loved each other, including a holiday that they had in Dubrovnik. I get the feeling McEwan enjoyed writing this. I’ll only give it 6/10, but there are some very memorable bits.

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  • De beste stylist

    Ian McEwan kan verbijsterend goed schrijven over de kleinste gevoelsnuances. In tegenstelling tot enkele andere boeken die ik van hem las is hier naast zeer uitvoerige beschrijvingen in detail van gedachten en gevoelens ook sprake van een meeslepende vehaallijn. Dat beviel mij goed. Het boek is daadoor deels een spannend boek geworden. Ook de relativerende beschouwingen over de huidige wereldproblemen zijn fijn om te lezen. Ze zijn deels ironisch commentaar bij de moderne mediagekte.

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  • Compelling.

    Compelling and fascinating viewpoint with extremely clever writing, as expected...too clever at times as found myself scimming certain passages of fancy. An inevitable ending which I felt was a bit of a letdown but definitely a page turner...finished it in a couple of hours!

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    0 person found this review helpful

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  • Magnificent

    The most ingenious novel I have read. Beautifully and believably written from an unborn child’s perspective. Even the sex scenes are not sleazy and tastefully written.

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  • Excellent read.

    Unserious but loveable read of new life and murder.

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