We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Nutshell Audiobook

Nutshell

Regular Price:$20.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Atonement, Nutshell is a classic story of murder and deceit, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master.

To be bound in a nutshell, see the world in two inches of ivory, in a grain of sand. Why not, when all of literature, all of art, of human endeavour is just a speck in the universe of possible things?

©2016 Ian McEwan (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"Short, fast-paced, expertly rendered by a voice it seems written for, this is flawless production, and pure entertainment." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (90 )
5 star
 (61)
4 star
 (22)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.5 (77 )
5 star
 (49)
4 star
 (21)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.8 (79 )
5 star
 (66)
4 star
 (9)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 09-16-16
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 09-16-16 Member Since 2006

    malfi

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1044
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    370
    197
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    289
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "McEwan Does It Again"

    McEwan's latest novel (more a novella, really) is a wickedly funny riff on Hamlet. "So here I am, upside down in a woman," the narrator--a fetus--begins. (He's "bound in a nutshell," so to speak.) If you're going to enjoy this book, you have to be willing to go with this premise; if you keep asking how a fetus could have such an extensive vocabulary and sophisticated thoughts, or how he could know so much about what is going on in the world outside the womb, you'll miss the fun.

    Trudy is roughly nine months pregnant. Although she separated from her husband John, a not very successful poet and publisher, she still lives in the dilapidated family home in London that he inherited., while John has moved to a flat in Shoreditch. Trudy initially told him that they needed time apart to make the marriage work--but she is deep into an affair with his younger brother Claude, a real estate developer (who has about the same level of class as the current Republican presidential candidate). Despite her advanced pregnancy, Trudy and Claude engage in regular and vigorous sex, leaving our narrator to worry that he will have his fontanel poked in or will absorb some essence of the deplorable Claude into his being. He does, however, enjoy the finer wines that his mother imbibes and has developed quite the connoisseur's palate.

    The trouble begins when John announces that he knows about and accepts Trudy and Claude's relationship, confesses that he has a new lover of his own, and states that he wants to move back into the family home. The plot thickens as Trudy and Claude decide that John must go--permanently. And our narrator is positioned to eavesdrop on their plans to murder his father and give him up for adoption. If Shakespeare's Hamlet was hampered by indecision, well, this protagonist is even more incapacitated by his unborn state. Literally and emotionally attached to his mother (he experiences every hormonal and adrenal shift), he is nonetheless horrified by the plot against his father's life and by the thought of Trudy giving him up to live with the detested Claude.

    In addition to the obvious parallels to Hamlet, McEwan weaves well-known lines from the play into Nutshell, although the words are sometimes put into the mouths of unexpected characters and sometimes subtly changed, a word here or there. If you're familiar with the play, the effect is delightful--reminiscent of the way in which famous lines by the Bard keep popping up in Tom Stoppard's screenplay for "Shakespeare in Love." And McEwan brings it all to a climax that, in its own context, rivals the final scene of Hamlet. "The rest is chaos."

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Cohen 09-18-16
    Robin Cohen 09-18-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    103
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "listening to the wise baby"
    Any additional comments?

    Ian McEwan is one of my favorite authors, and this book did not disappoint. One of the best of his that I have read. It was thought-provoking and touching. While the foreground story was about a fetus who "hears" a murder plot hatched up between his mother and her lover (his uncle) to kill his father, the background story is about how we are made to love even our most imperfect and/or dangerous love objects. It examines the conflict between love and morality in the human soul.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 09-19-16
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 09-19-16 Member Since 2016

    Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    768
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    413
    142
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    82
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Long Version, and the Short."

    This was my sixth novel by Ian McEwan, and though I'd be hard-pressed to say which has been my favourite so far, it's safe to say "Nutshell" now ranks among my favourite novels of all time. This is one of those audiobooks I felt the need to take on much-hated household chores for, just so I could have a long stretch of listening time, and I listened to this audiobook in one extended, fascinating session (the house looks much better for it too).

    A modern and loose retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet, it has all the elements of high drama and theatrics you'd expect from the Bard, but whether you're 'into' Shakespeare, or even familiar with the original play or not hardly matters. Here is a very clever thriller about two lovers plotting murder for entirely selfish motives, the whole of which is narrated by a yet unborn foetus. An unusual and not especially credible narrator you might say, but then I've read books narrated by trees, dogs and horses among other things: the greatest reward comes if you're willing to suspend disbelief and go along with the story.

    Trudy and her husband John are currently separated, though they are expecting their first child. The expecting mother claims she needs 'time to herself', but really, she just wants to keep the coast clear in the London marriage home that John inherited from his parents so that she and her lover Claude (who just happens to be John's younger brother) can indulge in frequent passionate sex and even more frequent plotting sessions. John must be gotten rid of, so they can get their hands on the fortune the sale of the house will bring, and nothing is going to get in their way. Possibly.

    Our narrator has clearly inherited a large dose of his father's creative genius—John is a published poet and publisher, and baby expresses himself beautifully and with great wit, quotes famous literary authors and happens to be a wine aficionado thanks to his mother's frequent imbibing of fine vintages. He hates and mistrusts his uncle Claude, and for good reason. Apart from Claude possibly wanting to be rid of another man's baby, he's also an insufferable bore whose conversation is entirely made up of platitudes and boring clichés; not clear is whether Claude is a complete fool, or cleverly hiding his true self.

    I've seen Rory Kinnear perform in Shakespeare plays, and his Iago, the great villain in Othello, was especially chilling. Here he brings all his talent to give voice to baby and all the other protagonists, and it's a brilliant performance.

    ***

    But why am I using so many words? I should just copy/paste my spontaneous reaction when I finished the book, which I shared on Facebook:

    "THIS BOOK IS BLOODY BRILLIANT!!! Hurry up and get your hands on it, and I defy you to NOT take it all in in one go. Also, if you're considering trying audiobooks, then this is one to go with, brilliantly performed by the fantastic Rory Kinnear, who is among other things, a superb Shakespeare actor, which is entirely fitting for a book referencing Hamlet. But wait! It's a thriller! Narrated by a foetus! With horrible people doing horrible things (plotting murder most foul), in most amusing ways. And needless to say, this being Ian McEwan, beautifully, beautifully written. I loved this book so much, I hurried up to purchase my own audio copy right after having listened to a library loaner. Kinnear's performance is definitely a keeper (and may he narrate many more remarkable books like this one).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chuck 09-16-16
    Chuck 09-16-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    113
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Clever"

    Ian McEwan is one of my favorites writers. His imagination is inspiring. This is a very entertaining story and is beautifully read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FinnsNana Sherman, TX USA 09-27-16
    FinnsNana Sherman, TX USA 09-27-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant retelling of Hamlet"

    The writing is exquisite and the story fascinating as told from this perspective. Read beautifully.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TC 09-26-16
    TC 09-26-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    5
    Overall
    "First sentence will pull you in."

    Was pulled into this book with the first sentence, couldn't put it down. Very different style of writing for me, some parts felt like I was listening one of the Shakespeare novels. Mother Trudy and her brother-in-law, also her lover planning how to kill her husband.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aragonesa 09-23-16
    Aragonesa 09-23-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exceptional"

    Ian McEwan is so unfailingly great, and they get the best of the best to narrate his books. Perfect listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sarah Steinberg santa Monica, cA, US 09-22-16
    sarah Steinberg santa Monica, cA, US 09-22-16 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ian McEwan brilliant once again"

    Fantastic writing. Very funny. Well acted by the reader. I thoroughly loved this book and can't wait for the next.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin A. Gower Point Pleasant, NJ USA 09-19-16
    Robin A. Gower Point Pleasant, NJ USA 09-19-16 Member Since 2011

    Robin

    HELPFUL VOTES
    78
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    127
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ingenious, campy"

    Modern baby Hamlet, still in utero, observes the plots of his mother and his uncle to murder his father. Their motivation -- to access the inflated equity in the brothers' family home -- seems insufficient to justify the crime, but why quibble over realism in a fantasy? Quirky, self consciously clever fiction. Does not touch the reader's heart.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate Rendham 09-19-16

    Real life stories

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A jewel of a story"

    This a marvelous little book, beautifully written, with excellent narration. Full of intrigue and humour.i was sorry when it ended
    EB Canada

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.