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The Post-Birthday World


 On Sale: 01/03/2007
 Formats:     Hardback
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Book Description

In this eagerly awaited new novel, Lionel Shriver, the Orange Prize-winning author of the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin, delivers an imaginative and entertaining look at the implications, large and small, of whom we choose to love. Using a playful parallel-universe structure, The Post-Birthday World follows one woman's future as it unfolds under the influence of two drastically different men.

Children's book illustrator Irina McGovern enjoys a quiet and settled life in London with her partner, fellow American expatriate Lawrence Trainer, a smart, loyal, disciplined intellectual at a prestigious think tank. To their small circle of friends, their relationship is rock solid. Until the night Irina unaccountably finds herself dying to kiss another man: their old friend from South London, the stylish, extravagant, passionate top-ranking snooker player Ramsey Acton. The decision to give in to temptation will have consequences for her career, her relationships with family and friends, and perhaps most importantly the texture of her daily life.

Hinging on a single kiss, this enchanting work of fiction depicts Irina's alternating futures with two men temperamentally worlds apart yet equally honorable. With which true love Irina is better off is neither obvious nor easy to determine, but Shriver's exploration of the two destinies is memorable and gripping. Poignant and deeply honest, written with the subtlety and wit that are the hallmarks of Shriver's work, The Post-Birthday World appeals to the what-if in us all.


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Critical Praise for The Post-Birthday World

"Extraordinary...Before it was co-opted and trivialized by chick lit, romantic love was a subject that writers from Flaubert to Tolstoy deemed worthy of artistic and moral scrutiny. This is the tradition into which Shriver’s novel fits."
— Entertainment Weekly
Reader Reviews from FirstLook

"Lionel Shriver's The Post-Birthday World focuses on the question of personal choice and the consequences that result. Irina McGovern lives two possible permutations of her life, branching from the defining moment when she must choose whether or not to kiss her lover's friend. From that central point, the narrative takes two paths, with parallel chapters chronicling the outcome of each choice. Shriver cleverly echoes each story in the other, often using the same phrase in both chapters, but in different contexts. While the novel could have used the central concept as a simple morality tale, Shriver allows the very real ambiguities of our choices to reverberate through the story. Is Irina 'good' when she resists the affair, and 'bad' when she leaves her dull but kind lover? In Shriver's world, both choices lead to positive and negative outcomes, and either could be viewed as the 'right' choice. Shriver creates a strong story that will keep the reader thinking long after the last page is turned."
— Rudi (Aurora, IL)

ISBN: 9780061187841; ISBN10: 0061187844; Imprint: HarperCollins ; On Sale: 01/03/2007; Format: Hardback; Trimsize: 6 x 9; Pages: 528; $32.95; Ages: 18 and Up; BISAC1:FIC000000

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