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Big Brother

Big Brother [Kindle Edition]

Lionel Shriver
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description


‘Glorious, fearless … possibly her very best’ OBSERVER

‘Her best novel yet’ INDEPENDENT

‘A brilliant writer. She has a strong, clear and strangely seductive voice. The characters are strong . . . so moving it will make you want to gasp or cry’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘Piercingly bleak in tone and formally original in execution . . . reminding us, not a moment too soon, that Shriver is a novelist as well as a polemicist’ DAILY TELEGRAPH

‘From the start I was gripped. Once again, Shriver has provided much food for thought’ DAILY MAIL

‘Lionel Shriver’s Big Brother has the muscle to overpower its readers. It is a conversation piece of impressive heft’ NEW YORK TIMES

‘Big Brother finds the funny – and the pathos – in fat’

‘Brilliantly done’ EVENING STANDARD

Product Description

The new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin.

When Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at her local Iowa airport, she literally doesn’t recognize him. The once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened?

Soon Edison’s slovenly habits, appalling diet, and know-it-all monologues are driving Pandora and her fitness-freak husband Fletcher insane. After the brother-in-law has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: it’s him or me.

Rich with Shriver’s distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat: why we overeat and whether extreme diets ever really work. It asks just how much sacrifice we’ll make to save single members of our families, and whether it’s ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 739 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007271107
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (9 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A628Y5K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,957 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Lionel Shriver's novels include The Post-Birthday World, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and A Perfectly Good Family. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Brother 12 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pandora Halfdanarson lives with her husband, 'food fascist' Fletcher, and her two teenage stepchildren in Iowa. She runs a successful business with her fantastic Baby Monotonous Dolls ( I hope the author has patented the idea,they would be sure to be a real life success) and is in something of a rut when we meet her. Pandora's childhood was somewhat unusual - her father was in a successful television show and all the members of her family are either distant or no longer alive, apart from her adored elder brother, Edison.

At the beginning of this novel we learn that Edison is coming for his first visit in four years. Pandora is expecting Edison to drive Fletcher mad. She is anticipating his never ending stories about life as a jazz pianist - name dropping and exaggerating. What she is not expecting is the fact that somehow, between visits, he has become obese...

This book is about many things. It is about how we view and relate to food, our obsession with weight, addictive behaviours, responsibility, marriage and family. As a story I could not put it down and that is the main thing - this is just a fantastic read. Pandora is just a wonderful character, so torn between her family and her ties to her brother and the history they share. It would be brilliant for book groups with so much to discuss and an ending you will think about for a long time. This is a real roller coaster of a book; about how society judges us, how we judge ourself and the difficult relationship so many people have with food. A truly great novel which I recommend highly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars oh dear... 18 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good start, good characters, I laughed out loud several times...
remember at school when you had no idea how to finish a story so you just write "and then I woke up and it was all a dream"... the last third of the book is the main character making a story up, saying that all that was jusr made up. It was really annoying. I can't believe this book has had so many good reviews and im annoyed with the person who read my copy first and let me read it knowing it had such a pathetic ending.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 14 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered this book as I love Shriver's stange novels - no matter what they are about, they are always riveting. When it arrived I read it in one go - cover to cover. I don't really have time to be doing that normally, but the book is compelling, beautifully written and I just had to find out what happened. I won't give the plot away, or the ending. The characters in this boook are more likeable than most in Shriver's other novels. I loved the brother. I felt for Pandora as she is torn between trying to help her brother, and loyalty to her husband and family.

The book is about families, weakness and strength, food, love, truth, control and lack of it, loyalty, and people who give to others and people who take from others. Don't be put off about the food bit - it's interesting. For me, the central theme of this book is the love between a brother and sister, the responsibilty she feels for him right into middle age. I have never seen this so beautifully done. There is a lot of humour in this novel (of the black kind).

There is a twist at the end (2 actually). I did not like either of them and would have prefered the last chapter not to have been there, but of-course, there is a purpose to all of it. The book made me happy, The last chapter did not. Ian Mc Ewan does these twists as well sometimes, and even though there is always a purpose, it makes me want to punch a wall. But it did not spoil this novel for me. Five stars. I can't write book reviews for toffee, but wanted to put my opinion in here as Shriver deserves the effort. Worth every penny - such a small price to pay for a book that made me think about life, entertained me and gave me 9 hours of pure bliss. Thank you Lionel. I can't wait for the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving, compelling domestic drama 14 Aug 2014
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The 'Big Brother' of the title refers not to an Orwellian concept or a reality TV show, rather to the narrator's older and grossly obese brother, Edison. The story centres around their relationship and the impact on the narrator and her family when Edison arrives to stay with them. Until recently he had been slim and attractive, and over time the reasons for his deterioration into compulsive overeating are unravelled. The novel chronicles the narrator's attempts to help Edison, and the strain this places on her family life.

Shriver as always captures family life in a realistic way and describes the nuances of relationships brilliantly. Her characters are interesting and complex. The domestic focus of this novel and its style did remind me of 'We Need To Talk About Kevin', her most famous masterpiece. The narrator's voice in this novel was very similar to that of Eva in 'We Need to Talk...', as was the depiction of the relationship between the narrator and her husband. This wouldn't be a big problem except Eva was supposedly a very different character from Pandora, the narrator here. Pandora never really came across as the humble, unassuming 'middle child' that she claimed herself to be. It didn't quite ring true. Likewise I always struggled to really visualise or understand Edison, and I found his 'jazz slang' speaking style incredibly annoying. Does anyone really speak like that?

Shriver's style is a bit over-wordy but it's only really noticeable at first, once you're caught up in the story you don't notice it. And it is a very engaging, compelling story despite its seemingly simple theme. I can't really say why it was so gripping and page-turning, except that it is very well written and I got caught up in the family drama.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars ... Shall We Do About Kevin first which I greatly enjoyed and would...
I read What Shall We Do About Kevin first which I greatly enjoyed and would heartily recommend but this one doesn't compare at all well. Read more
Published 5 days ago by JPW
4.0 out of 5 stars Book club book for October. Hmmm, interesting read ...
Book club book for October. Hmmm, interesting read (no spoilers here) - took a bit of getting into but worth it.
Published 9 days ago by Mrs. A. B. Fox
3.0 out of 5 stars 80% of this book is excellent
I like Lionel Shriver - I've not read one of her books yet that I didn't enjoy, and this was no exception. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Mike N
2.0 out of 5 stars Bought this as it was recommended, but couldn't get past the first...
Bought this as it was recommended, but couldn't get past the first couple of pages as it is written in American English, and I just can't stand reading Americanisms. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Reviewer1
1.0 out of 5 stars Why?
Persevered with this to the end and regretted it. It's one of those books where you question the point of the story and the "twist" just rendered it even more depressing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Wendy
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 2 months ago by Karina Traynor
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great topical novel.
Always absorbing and amazing characters. Shriver manages to make topical and clearly well researched topics thought provoking and gripping to read.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Carrie M. Bostock
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant thanks
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Maggie J Symonds
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD READ.
this book was recommended to me. I am not normally a fan on non-fiction but this is a good book with a 'can't put it down' feeling about it.
Published 3 months ago by R MCI
1.0 out of 5 stars a mundane read....
Much too far fetched - sister moves out of family home to live with obese brother for a year - this didn't work for me.
Published 3 months ago by Busybee
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