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The New Republic Paperback – 28 Mar 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007459912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007459919
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 291,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Review

Praise for THE NEW REPUBLIC:

‘It takes guts to write a satire about terrorism – and Lionel Shriver has guts. Shriver is an incisive social satirist with a clear grip on the ironies of our contemporary age’ LA TIMES

‘Shriver has the kind of cojones few English-language novelists possess, male or female’ GLOBE & MAIL ‘The New Republic stands at the confluence of a number of fine comic traditions . . . we can only be thankful that Shriver got round to dusting down this comic tour de force for the outing it richly deserves’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘Written with intelligence, wit and pizzazz’ DAILY MAIL

‘She is one of the most magnetically compelling writers working today. Witty, caustic and worldly’ WALL STREET JOURNAL

About the Author

Lionel Shriver's novels include the New York Times bestseller The Post-Birthday World and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin, which won the 2005 Orange Prize and has now sold over a million copies worldwide. Earlier books include Double Fault, A Perfectly Good Family, and Checker and the Derailleurs. Her novels have been translated into twenty-five different languages. Her journalism 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

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover
The New Republic is a satire on the Troubles of Northern Ireland. Don't be fooled by the apparent setting in a fictitious southern peninsula of Portugal or by the hairy pears, this is a novel set fair and square in Belfast suggesting a strange symbiosis between the press corps and Sinn Féin (the Shinners) - trying hard to maintain a legal distance from Óglaigh na hÉireann (the Ra). There are mirrors for detecting car bombs; there are dogs on the streets; there's the incessant bad weather; and there are the murals and grafitti.

And at the centre of this heady brew, we have Edgar Kellogg, a corporate lawyer who has jacked in the law in search of adventure. He calls in a favour from a schooldays hero and finds himself on a newspaper string in Barba, this supposedly Portuguese backwater blighted by a terrorist independence movement. His mission, should he choose to accept it, is to uncover the fate of his predecessor, the disappeared Barrington Saddler. To help him achieve this, he is to step into Barrington's home, inherit his friends and carry out his job.

On arrival, it becomes clear that Barrington had charisma. Edgar doesn't - he is a perpetual lieutenant. Much of the novel revolves around Edgar's soul-searching, trying to work out just what charisma is.

There is a plot - and it's fairly predictable from the blurb - which meanders slowly through its course. As with any satire, the story itself is far fetched but the real humour is derived from the kernel of truth at its core. In this case, we see paramilitarism and revolutionary politics not as the glamorous glad-handing in the White House or Hillsborough Castle, it is cheap offices with broken furniture above tacky souvenir shops or taxi depots.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 April 2013
Format: Paperback
The New Republic is a dark satire about journalism and world politics, set in a fictitious Portuguese peninsula desperate for independence. It is important to realise upfront that this is a satire, as I think having that frame of reference helps when reading (I didn't realise until halfway through). I have seen this described as a 'satire about terrorism' - a description that would have put me off reading if I'd seen it beforehand. This is not a satire about terrorism - it is a satire about human society which happens to feature terrorism as a theme. At no point does this book belittle, glamorise or excuse the appalling human cost of terrorism. It is in no way disrespectful to those affected by terrorist incidents, and is not distasteful to read. In fact, it is a good example of how pointed humour can sometimes bring about a more honest and profound emotional response to an issue than any amount of more earnest writing.

The central idea of the novel - which doesn't become apparent until halfway through - is rather brilliant and original, one of those ideas you wish you'd thought of yourself. Shriver manages to write a story that is both funny - in a very dark way - and genuinely moving. The themes mean it would have been very easy to get wrong, but I think she manages to handle her subject sensitively. It is occasionally laugh out loud funny, but the humour is mostly a more subtle ironic type. Like all good parodies it manages to combine the frankly ridiculous (which is why you need to know it's a satire before starting) with enough basic truth about human nature to still ring true. It reminds me of Catch-22, one of my favourite novels, which also took potentially grave subject matter (World War II) and managed to make it both funny and sad.
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By DT on 27 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback
Satire is difficult to sustain over the span of a novel, particularly when Lionel Shriver goes out of her way, in novel after novel, to invent unsympathetic or flat characters. Graham Greene’s “Our Man in Havana” works better as a satire of the intelligence world because at least two of the characters matter to readers, and the novel is gently amusing. Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur” is, in the end, sufficiently ambiguous in its commitments and very funny in its detail, even during the mass violence of the final battle. “A New Republic”, in contrast, is hard-going, smart at its best, for instance in describing Barba’s claims to independence before, part way through, we discover the reality to this contemporary slice of geo-politics; but also lacking in tonal variety. Most sentences are too significant, too quotable in support of the satire of terrorism. Moreover, the search by the central character, Edgar Kellogg, for an alter-ego is, finally, not that interesting, either as a study of a certain type of modern figure or as the journey of someone we care about (I didn’t care for him).

This doesn’t mean, though, that there isn’t anything to admire in passing as we follow Edgar seeking to find out who he is, at first, in his pursuit of Toby Falconer in the preamble to his visit to the Barba region of Portugal as an exposé journalist in search of a story about the terrorist organisation, the S.O.B., and, then, in search of Barrington Saddler, Edgar’s charismatic predecessor, who has gone missing, leaving all of the expatriates and foreign correspondents incapable of talking about anyone or anything else.
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