Lionel Shriver's seventh novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin, won the 2005 Orange Prize. Her other novels are: A Perfectly Good Family, Game Control, Ordinary Decent Criminals, Checker and the Derailleurs and The Female of the Species. She has also written for the Guardian, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Economist. She lives in London.
Novelist Shriver offers this aptly named romance about two aspiring tennis pros who fall in love and marry only to come to blows on the court and subsequently at home. The narration by soap-opera actress Renée Raudman brings an air of theatricality to the occasionally stiff prose. Under her command, the story becomes an old-fashioned romance replete with one-dimensional characters (who actually become quite likable through Raudman's well-crafted tone) and overwrought scenarios that only serve to make listening all the more enjoyable. Fans of the genre will be giddy with delight, but those looking for a serious love story may be disappointed. A Harper Perennial hardcover. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"'An awesomely smart, stylish and pitiless achievement' Independent 'Taps into unspoken fears of maternal ambivalence that are not easily acknowledged and do not fit neatly into glossy magazine notions of female empowerment' Guardian Unlimited 'Harrowing, tense and thought-provoking, this is a vocal challenge to every accepted parenting manual you've ever read' Daily Mail 'An elegant psychological and philosophical investigation of culpability with a brilliant denouement' Observer"
A marriage wrecked on the shoals of ambition is the theme of Shriver's intriguing sixth novel (The Female of the Species, LJ 2/15/87). When 23-year-old Willy Novinsky meets and marries Eric Oberdorfer, she's a rising professional tennis star and he's a Princeton graduate who just plays for the love of the game. As Eric's tennis prowess increases and his ranking in the men's professional circuit rises, Willy suffers an injury and then a loss of confidence, both of which cause her rankings to plummet. Willy must decide whether her love for her husband is greater than her desire for a number-one ranking in women's tennis and how much she will sacrifice to achieve her goal. Shriver's challenge here is to convince the reader to empathize with Willy, despite her unattractive behavior and misguided choices. Shriver is a talented enough writer to win over some readers, but many will quickly lose patience with Willy and want to tell her to simply grow up and set her priorities straight. Recommended for public libraries.‘Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle