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Bulletin Winter 2016

Book Review Robert R. Kracke BOOK REVIEW This new novel by prolific English author Ian McEwan is written from a truly unique perspective. The narrator of the novel is an embryo in the womb of a woman who is rejecting her husband, who is a poet, in favor of her husband's brother, her brother-in-law. Her brother-in-law has become her new lover and the monologue of the embryo, which can hear, feel, and interpret movements outside the mother's body, describes the dialogue that takes place in the home between its mother and its uncle-to-be when it is born (confusing, huh?). The embryo's reputed father has designs on moving back into the family home which the father has owned for many years by way of inheritance. The brother-in-law has temporarily moved into the residence and because the brother-in-law is a money-maker he has loaned 5,000 GBP to his brother, the father/poet. Apparently, the poet teaches at a local university and one of his students becomes a character in the novel as "the voice of reason" based upon recitations of the father's poetry. In short, it is not a plot spoiler to say that the brother-in-law and mother have plotted to kill the father/husband/brother/poet by way of antifreeze in a slushie. As usual, Ian McEwan, whose novels "Atonement", and "Saturday", have been reviewed on these pages, is not only prolific but a very classical writer whose novels typically revolve around husbandwife relationships whether they be in foreign countries or in the suburbs of London. As the novel progresses, the reader is kept wondering whether or not the antifreeze solution will be successful in causing the demise of the poet and whether the mother and uncle will be discovered. Of course, the interplay of accusations by the would-be murderers against each other deepens the plot. This reviewer will not reveal any of the outcomes of the various characters nor further mention the plot itself so that this amusing psychological mystery will not be ruined for the reader (shades of the Roald Dahl short story and the leg of lamb murder weapon the killer cooked and served to the detectives for dinner). Ian McEwan is a novelist who has been called “one of the best writers in England since 1945” by several publications. He is another gothic novelist whose writing could be called elegiac and Shakespearean, and whose books have been made into movies. This book has won several prizes such as the Man Booker Award, New York Times 10 Best Books of The Year, the Shakespeare Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. It is truly worth your attention and enjoyment. It is worth whatever the cost. G Editor Robert R. Kracke Nutshell by Ian McEwan, Doubleday, NY, London, Toronto, Sydney, Auckland 2016 28 Birmingham Bar Association


Bulletin Winter 2016
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