From the acclaimed author of the National Book Award finalist SO MUCH FOR THAT comes a part parable, part adventure story about a group of foreign correspondents reporting from a nonexistent peninsula of Portugal in the mid-1990s. 'A wondrously fanciful plot, vividly drawn characters, clever and cynical dialogue, anda comically brilliant and ...
From the acclaimed author of the National Book Award finalist SO MUCH FOR THAT comes a part parable, part adventure story about a group of foreign correspondents reporting from a nonexistent peninsula of Portugal in the mid-1990s. 'A wondrously fanciful plot, vividly drawn characters, clever and cynical dialogue, anda comically brilliant and verisimilar imagined land ...The New Republic is simply terrific.' BOOKLIST Ostracised as a kid, Edgar Kellogg has always yearned to be popular. A disgruntled New York corporate lawyer, he's more than ready to leave his lucrative career for the excitement and uncertainty of journalism. When he's offered the post of foreign correspondent in a Portuguese backwater that has sprouted a homegrown terrorist movement, Edgar recognises the disappeared larger-than-life reporter he's been sent toreplace, Barrington Saddler, as exactly the outsized character he longs to emulate. Infuriatingly, all his fellow journalists cannot stop talking about their beloved 'Bear', who is no longer lighting up their work lives. Yet all is not as it appears. 'The Daring Soldiers of Barba' (the SOB) have been blowing up the rest of the world for years in order to win independence for a province so dismal, backward and windblown that you couldn't give the rat hole away. So why, with Barrington missing, do terrorist incidents claimed by the SOB suddenly dry up? Part parable, part adventure story, The New Republic addresses weighty issues like terrorism with the deft, tongue-in-cheek touch that is vintage Shriver. It also presses the more intimate question: What makes particular people so magnetic, while the rest of us inspire a shrug? What's their secret? And in the end, who has the better life - the admired or the admirer?
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Publishers Weekly, 2012-01-23 A separatist organization based in a fictionalized Portuguese peninsula could have been fertile territory for Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) to send up terrorism, but this lightly ironic novel, written in the mid-'90s and offered now that we have enough distance from 9/11, is done in by a woolly plot and an out-of-date atmosphere. Edgar Kellogg, who has always played second fiddle to more charismatic men, quits his corporate law job to pursue journalism, finding temporary employment as a stringer at the National Record. Kellogg's first mission: to locate the former stringer, missing in "Barba," a god-forsaken region of Portugal and home turf to the radical Os Soldados Ousados de Barba (SOB). As Kellogg quickly learns, the former stringer belonged to that category of charismatic men: a beloved, larger-than-life character who had everyone eating out of the palm of his hand. But soon the puzzling circumstances of the stringer's disappearance-hinting at connections to the SOB-offer Kellogg the chance to assume his predecessor's social mantle. Though Shriver's characters are sharply drawn, they lack sympathy, and several plot contrivances are too jarring to overlook. Terrorism is merely a backdrop to a fairly banal exploration of popularity. (Mar. 27) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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