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Big Brother [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Lionel Shriver , Alice Rosengard
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Jun 2013

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

Pandora has looked up to her older brother Edison
since they were children. Now she revels in the anonymity
of her suburban Iowa life, while her brother basks in the
limelight as a New York jazz musician. But when Edison
arrives in Iowa, suddenly in need of a place to stay, Pandora
literally doesn’t recognize him. The once slim, hip pianist
has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened?

Soon Edison’s appalling diet and know-it-all monologues
are driving Pandora and her husband Fletcher insane.
And it’s only a matter of time before Fletcher delivers
his wife an ultimatum, it’s him or me.

With Shriver’s distinctive wit and ferocious energy,
Big Brother not only examines why we overeat, but asks
more pressingly still: just how much should you sacrifice
for someone who refuses to be saved?

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Oakhill Publishing Limited; Unabridged edition (6 Jun 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0857357182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857357182
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 18.5 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)

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.

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

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Lionel Shriver’s novels include the National Book Award finalist So Much for That, the New York Times bestseller The Post-Birthday World, and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin. Her journalism has appeared in the Guardian and the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications. She lives in London and Brooklyn, New York.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 60 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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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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14 of 16 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 1 day 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 10 days ago by Mrs. Carrie M. Bostock
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant thanks
Published 23 days 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 1 month 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 1 month ago by Busybee
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid account of the life of a morbidly obese man
I have never wanted to read any of Shriver's books as I mistakenly thought they were all along the lines of `Kevin'. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ms. S. Quinn
4.0 out of 5 stars Thicker than water
What limits can we places on our sense of responsibility to members of our own family? This question lies behind Lionel Shriver’s new novel. Read more
Published 2 months ago by barbicandy
2.0 out of 5 stars weird, harsh
Did not enjoy this book, perhaps a social commentary on our unhealthy relationship with food and familial ties but regardless cruel harsh and odd.
Published 2 months ago by Clairie
1.0 out of 5 stars Author self-indulgence
The author has a very self-indulgent style of writing that results in an incredibly slow-moving plot and storyline. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ginny W
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written. As someone who has suffered from emotional ...
Beautifully written. As someone who has suffered from emotional eating this book was very close to my heart. It reminded me how we should never judge a person by their looks.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. T. Ashton
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