The new novel from the Orange Prize winning author of 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'. It all hinges on one kiss. Whether Irina McGovern does or does not lean in to a specific pair of lips in London will determine whether she stays with her disciplined, intellectual partner Lawrence or runs off with Ramsey, a hard-living snooker player. Using a ...
The new novel from the Orange Prize winning author of 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'. It all hinges on one kiss. Whether Irina McGovern does or does not lean in to a specific pair of lips in London will determine whether she stays with her disciplined, intellectual partner Lawrence or runs off with Ramsey, a hard-living snooker player. Using a parallel universe structure, we follow Irena's life as it unfolds under the influence of two drastically different men. Lawrence is Irina's partner of nearly ten years. Ramsey is the ex-husband of a sometime friend, a once-a-year acquaintance to whom Irina has never paid a great deal of attention. Where Lawrence is supportive and devoted; Ramsey is flighty and spontaneous. Lawrence is emotionally withdrawn to the point of repression; Ramsey is fiery and passionate, but volatile. The contrasts between the two men have ramifications for Irina's relationships with friends and family, for her career as an illustrator, and more importantly, for the texture of her daily life. This love is about trade-offs. Both men in Irina's dual future are worthy of her affection but deeply flawed. The answer is that there is no perfect answer: one of the things that draws us to our mates is what is wrong with them. The Post-Birthday World is written with all the subtlety, perceptiveness and drama that made We Need to Talk About Kevin an international bestseller.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-11-20 The smallest details of staid coupledom duel it out with a lusty alternate reality that begins when a woman passes up an opportunity to cheat on her longtime boyfriend in Shriver's latest (after the Orange Prize-winning We Need to Talk About Kevin). Irina McGovern, a children's book illustrator in London, lives in comfortable familiarity with husband-in-everything-but-marriage-certificate Lawrence Trainer, and every summer the two have dinner with their friend, the professional snooker player Ramsey Acton, to celebrate Ramsey's birthday. One year, following Ramsey's divorce and while terrorism specialist "think tank wonk" Lawrence is in Sarajevo on business, Irina and Ramsey have dinner, and after cocktails and a spot of hash, Irina is tempted to kiss Ramsey. From this near-smooch, Shriver leads readers on a two-pronged narrative: one consisting of what Irina imagines would have happened if she had given in to temptation, the other showing Irina staying with Lawrence while fantasizing about Ramsey. With Jamesian patience, Shriver explores snooker tournaments and terrorism conferences, passionate lovemaking and passionless sex, and teases out her themes of ambition, self-recrimination and longing. The result is an impressive if exhausting novel. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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