McEwan’s moment

Antonio Lozano

22 February 2017

Antonio Lozano interviews the British writer Ian McEwan on the occasion of the presentation of his latest novel Nutshell. The talk will take place on 9th of March as a part of the continuous programme of Kosmopolis.


As in his essay “Federer Both Flesh and Not”, David Foster Wallace discussed about the so called “Federer moments”, those strokes of genius during his game, points won so unlikely that invited to question if they could be the work of a simple human being and that led the tennis lover to a state close to nirvana, any staunch fan of the writer treasures his or her “McEwan’s moment”. There are plenty of them: the child kidnapping in The Child in Time; the dismemberment in The Innocent, the Mephistophelian murder in The Comfort of Strangers; the aerostatic accident in Enduring Love (perhaps the winner of an hypothetical popular survey); the wedding night of On Chesil Beach, the arctic tour or the chips in the train car scene of Solar; The astonishing final twists of Atonement and Sweet Tooth… But perhaps never until his last novel, Nutshell, he had tasted a triple somersault without a net: granting the narrative voice to a fetus in a black thriller that runs under the ascendant of Hamlet.

Interested throughout his literary career in the study of human beings in times of stress that overcome them, and subsumed to the best version of traditional British humor, McEwan has moved with equal ease in the historical intrigue than in the intimate chamber piece and, since his second novel, The Child in Time, where he portrayed a woman was dedicated to physics and, for now, until Solar, whose protagonist is a lout capable of reversing climate change, science has been an important aspect of his work.

His visit to Kosmopolis is an excellent opportunity to listen to one of the most lucid novelists and author of one of the most virtuous prose of the last decades, a live classic of Anglo-Saxon letters.