MCEWAN, Ian Nutshell London: Jonathan Cape, 2016.
8vo., quarter navy Harmatan Leather over patterned paper-covered boards, designed by Eric Ravilious; lettered in gilt to spine; sage-green endpapers; housed in a matching paper-covered slipcase with cloth sides, lined in mustard yellow felt; pp. [x], 1-198, [ii]; a fine, unread copy.
Limited edition by the London Review Bookshop. This no.43 of just 75 copies signed by McEwan. The binding has been designed by Andrew Stilwell and Patrick Roe, and produced by the Fine Book Bindery, Finedon, Northants.
In a brutally effective modern take on Shakespeare's Hamlet, McEwan tells the story of of how a mother and her lover plan to murder the father of an unborn child. Told from the perspective of the foetus in the womb (or, “Bounded in the nutshell”), McEwan first conceived of the idea while speaking to his pregnant daughter. He recalls "We were talking about the baby, and I was very much aware of the baby as a presence in the room". Soon afterwards, while daydreaming in a meeting, the first lines popped into his head: "So here I am, upside down in a woman."