a weblog for readers and writers

Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Goodman Addresses the Nutshell in the Room

What are the odds? It was about a decade ago when I hatched the idea for Womb: a novel in utero and set to write a novel from the most unique and unusual point of view I could imagine.

In fact, look back at this blog post from 2007, in which I invite readers to come to the first public reading from my novel-in-utero-in-progress, Womb.

Most pregnancies take nine months. It’s taken nine years for this book to see birth. In part due to revisions, partly due to multi-year spells with the manuscript waiting on the back burner. And that pesky detail of finding the right agent and publisher at the right time.

So imagine my surprise when, just months after I got my book deal with Merge Publishing for Womb, I read about another novel narrated from within the womb—by none other than acclaimed, award-winning novelist Ian McEwan!

Ian McEwan is a living legend, and I’ve enjoyed his work very much over the years. But my mood sank when I found out that his Nutshell was being published in fall 2016, about half a year before my own Womb: a novel in utero. I wondered: will readers think I’m a copycat, even though I conceived this brainchild so many years ago?

Then, perhaps because I tend to try to focus on the positive, I reconsidered. Maybe having a literary powerhouse like Ian McEwan publish a book similar to mine is a good thing for a smaller book with a smaller press. Perhaps people who enjoy McEwan’s Nutshell will discover my Womb. Just as one zombie movie makes way for another, perhaps Nutshell will crack open the pathway for Womb to find a larger audience.

I haven’t read Nutshell yet. I look forward to reading it after Womb is published. As reviewers compare the two books, I hope Ian McEwan looks forward to reading Womb, too.

Learn more about Ian McEwan’s Nutshell by reading the Ron Charles review (not to mention the entertaining video).

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