Ian McEwan has said his forthcoming book Nutshell (Jonathan Cape) will be “a clean break" from everything he has written over the past 35 years and will “break out of the constraints of realism”.
The key to McEwan’s novel, first announced in April, is a narrator who tells the story from “a perspective unlike any other” - now revealed to be that of an unborn child, with just two weeks to go in the womb.
From this unique vantage point unravels a story that is described by the publisher as "a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers”.
Many details are still under wraps, but a newly updated blurb hints at betrayal and a plot to be foiled. It reads: "Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She's still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but John's not here. Instead, she's with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb."
At a Vintage showcase held for booksellers this week, McEwan described the book as a departure from recent novels in which he'd worked to create a “plausible world that is our own” and of “recognisable” shared experiences.
Nutshell will be published on 1st September. UK & Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, were acquired by Dan Franklin, associate publisher at Jonathan Cape, from Peter Straus at Rogers Coleridge & White.
Franklin has said: "This is an amazing book. You first gasp with astonishment, then laugh with delight."
Michal Shavit, Jonathan Cape publishing director, said: "Love and betrayal, life and death come together in the most unexpected ways in this sensational new novel from Ian McEwan. We are thrilled and proud to be publishing Nutshell this autumn."