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12 June 2017


The book on the nightstand: Nutshell

by Ramona Lucarelli

There are returns you wait for more than others and Ian McEwan is among them.

Today I’m talking about the latest product of his bright mind, the novel Nutshell.

I’ve been loving McEwan ever since I read the novel The Cement Garden.

He was the first to let me find out how seductive the word might be.

This time “Ian Macabre” – his cute nickname – moves away from the dull, morbid tones to tell a story which begins in the maternal Nutshell:

So here I am, head down in a woman. Arms patiently waiting to wait, wait and wonder inside who I am, inside what trouble I am about to hunt.

The narrator is the child fetus, who discovers that his mother is planning his father’s murder together with his uncle’s lover and, with motivated anguish, he wonders whether or not to be born.

It is an Hamletic doubt and is not the only reference to the famous Shakespearian tragedy: the mother is called Trudy, diminutive of Gertrude, while the blunt Uncle Claude remembers Claudius apparently.

Referred to Hamlet is also the epigraph:

I wish I could be confined to a Nutshell and feel the king of an infinite space – if it were not the company of bad dreams.

Unlike the tragic couple, however, the two will be accomplices, much more similar to Macbeth’s spouses and for John Cairncross, baby’s father, there will be no escape.

The squatted poet is hindered by their plans more than their relationship.

Sex seems to be the only contact point between them: Claude is always on the job in possessing her with animal frenzy, and the lustful Trudy does not subside while drinking unlimitedly at the eighth month of pregnancy.

And we “look” through the ears of who in the mother’s Nutshell already deal with a world that he does not like and it will be such a discomfort to make him say “I do not want ever to be born”.

Unlike Hamlet, the fetus can not try to change things, he can do nothing but wait. Change goes through the action and this is forbidden.

There will be justice? Will they be unmasked? It is for reader to judge.

Reading time
ome Hamlet nights

Ian McEwan - Nel guscio

Il libro sul comodino: Ian McEwan - Nel guscio

Ph. Sara Cartelli
© The Eat Culture


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Ramona Lucarelli

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Ramona Lucarelli


She is an art historian, optimistic and empathic by nature. She imagines a world where sow kindness enjoying the little things. She's in love with stories since she was a child, for the Eat Culture she eats books and arts. Per aspera ad astra says the only tattoo on her skin. It reminds her that the road that leads to her dreams is not always easy but that she never gives up.

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