We Need To Talk About Kevin (Serpent's Tail Classics) Paperback – 29 Apr 2010
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Once in a while, a stunningly powerful novel comes along, knocks you sideways and takes your breath away: this is it... a horrifying, original, witty, brave and deliberately provocative investigation into all the casual assumptions we make about family life, and motherhood in particular (Daily Mail)
This startling shocker strips bare motherhood... the most remarkable Orange prize victor so far (Polly Toynbee Guardian)
An awesomely smart, stylish and pitiless achievement. Franz Kafka wrote that a book should be the ice-pick that breaks open the frozen seas inside us, because the books that make us happy we could have written ourselves. With We Need to Talk About Kevin, Shriver has wielded Kafka's axe with devastating force (Independent)
One of the most striking works of fiction to be published this year. It is Desperate Housewives as written by Euripides... A powerful, gripping and original meditation on evil (New Statesman)
Shriver keeps up an almost unbearable suspense. It's hard to imagine a more striking demolition job on the American myth of the perfect suburban family (Sunday Telegraph)
One of the bravest books I've ever read... We Need to Talk About Kevin is an original, powerful, resonant, witty, fascinating and deeply intelligent work (Sunday Business Post)
A study of despair, a book of ideas and a deconstruction of modern American morality (David Baddiel The Times)
This superb, many-layered novel intelligently weighs the culpability of parental nurture against the nightmarish possibilities of an innately evil child (Daily Telegraph)
Urgent, unblinking and articulate (Sunday Times)
[A] powerful, painful novel... There are true, terrible things said here about family life (Saga Magazine)
A fierce challenge of a novel that forces the reader to confront assumptions about love and parenting, about how and why we apportion blame, about crime and punishment, forgiveness and redemption and, perhaps most significantly, about how we can manage when the answer to the question why? is either too complex for human comprehension, or simply non-existent (Independent)
Pitch-perfect, devastating and utterly convincing (Geoff Dyer)
One of my favourite novels... the best thing I've read in years (Jeremy Vine)
We Need to Talk About Kevin is not a treatise on crime prevention but a meditation on motherhood, and a terribly honest one (Wall Street Journal)
What an amazing piece of storytelling. I could not put the book down. (Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones & Harry Potter actress) Daily Express 2010-07-09)
One of the most powerful books I've read... brilliant (Boy George Elle 2011-06-01)
An original and startling story of family life. A brilliant and thought-provoking read. (Jackie Brown Woman's Own 2011-08-15)
The Orange prize winning, million copy bestseller: now a Serpent's Tail classic, with a new foreword by Kate MosseSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As a mother, Eva blames herself for not bonding with a son who is incapable of bonding or, indeed, of forming normal relationships. She does her best to understand and cope with his aberrant behaviour, but faced with her husband's refusal to acknowlege the problem and his inability to see through Kevin's play-acting, she is out-manoeuvred by her own son. Through it all she loves her son as best she can, but his inability to respond in a normal fashion stymies her attempts to mitigate his behavioural and deep psychological problems.
It takes a while to get into the book, but as the story progresses, it becomes hard to put it down. The real reason for Eva's estrangement from husband and daughter is a twist I didn't see coming until a few pages from it. The final scene, however, seems out of place.
This book is gripping from beginning to end, thought provoking, funny, scary and sad... well worth a read.
The story is narrated by Eva, in letter form, as she writes to her estranged husband. Eva's son, Kevin, is in a juvenile detention centre, as at the age of 15yrs he went on a killing spree at his high school. He killed 7 fellow students, a teacher and a cafeteria worker. Through Eva's letters, the reader is taken through Kevin and her story, going right back into their past, even before Kevin was born. As Eva spills her heart out onto the paper, you are struck by how she is debating the point of just how to blame, if at all, she is for Kevin's actions.
The exploration of the past, especially Eva's relationship with her husband, brings up many areas of life and truth that are often not spoken about. This, I think, is why this novel is so good; the book is not just about Kevin's terrible crime. The dynamics of Eva and Frianklin's relationship are also explored, both as a young couple and as a family once Kevin is born.
This novel really does stay with you long after you have finished the last page. The ideas, suggestions and debates it raises are complex and intriguing, something to really get your teeth into.
This is a great book, one of the best I have read, and that really is saying something.
In other senses the work has flaws. Though a personal account, Franklin is so ludicrious in places as to beg wider questions as to how or why Eva would have married him in the first place. Even on this side of the pond, a fraction of Kevin's antics would have landed him in some sort of therapy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book takes a while to get going but is really good towards the end, would recommend. I would also recommend for people to watch the film as well, very good representation of... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Leanne B.
Was highly recommended but I couldn't get into it due to the layout and 'letter' style it was written in. Read morePublished 26 days ago by baggybird
I loved the way this book was written, a challenging but excellent read.Published 1 month ago by mand
After reading this book - Lionel Shriver has made my list of favourite authors. A great examination of what happens to us when life does not go "according to plan" and the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by P. Penn-Low
Chilling tale of a personality-disordered teenager raised by a mother who found him unlovable (or was he unlovable because he wasn't shown love?? Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mrs B-C