Author: Ian McEwan
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review By: Shana
Fascinating, dark, wry, devious, and ultimately ruinous, a tale of deception, betrayal, and murder from a most unique raconteur. Our fetal guide floats in amniotic fluid, listening from the womb to a murderous plot hatched between his mother and her lover. A lover that turns out to be his uncle.
McEwan pays obvious and twisted homage to Hamlet (at least this tragic son's inaction is due to his embryonic and enwombed state, and not to terminal indecision). We all know this tale cannot end well as our nascent narrator opines on his hampered abilities, on the mixture of love and loathing he feels for his traitorous mother, on the vapid and greedy nature of his uncle, and on the opaque nature of his cuckolded father (honorable or over-credulous, astute or oblivious, vanquisher or vanquished?).
The unnamed, unborn storyteller has a taste for fine wines and a palate to match, wonders about the state of the world and esoterica, and contemplates suicide by umbilical cord. In the end, as everyone knows regarding the course of human life, there is only one way out and only one action left to him. The question is when will he employ it and will it save or doom his murderous family. For those with any memory of Hamlet, the answer may be obvious but is no less climactic for its strange familiarity.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...