We discuss the present status of the description of the structure of the ve
ry neutron-rich nuclei, in the framework of modem large-scale shell model c
alculations. Particular attention is paid to the interaction related issues
, as well as to the problems of the shell model approach at the neutron dri
p line. We present detailed results for nuclei around N = 20 and, more brie
fly, we discuss some salient features of the regions close to N = 8, 28 and
40. We show that most experimental features can be understood in a shell m
odel context. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.