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The Post-Birthday World Paperback – 1 Apr 2008

3.6 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Apr 2008
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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Cover Worn edition (1 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007245149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007245147
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Praise for The Post-Birthday World:

‘Those of us who rave about the dash and dare of Lionel Shriver’s fiction can rejoice that The Post-Birthday World, a ‘Sliding Doors’-style joint tale of alternative loves and lives, will garner the attention she always deserves’

‘’a compelling survey of the competing merits of security vs.desire.’
Saturday Guardian

‘Shriver gives us another passionate novel…Like Sliding Doors, the tale splits into two, following the dramatic turns of each choice. Brilliant’

‘It's another domestic drama with a compelling twist…the power struggle between the sexes is spot-on. Shriver chalks her narrative cue with relish and, once the story gets underway, it's hard to take your eyes off the green baize’

‘’The Post-Birthday World’ is Lionel Shriver’s forthcoming work about the dilemmas of love – a must if you were gripped by ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’’
Harper’s Bazaar

‘perceptive and highly original’

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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First things first - this book isn't a sequel to We Need to Talk About Kevin. A fairly obvious point to make, but one that really does need making. Because this seems to be the expectation of many reviews that I have read. Certainly, Kevin is an amazing and poignant book, and if you haven't read it yet, then where the hell have you been? However, as a writer, Shriver has the ability to write about a wide and varied range of subject matter. This is what good writers do. If you really want to learn more on high school massacres, then rent out Bowling for Columbine.

So, if you can get Kevin out of your head for five minutes, then please turn your attention to The Post-birthday World. And this is one novel that really is deserving of your attention. In the first chapter, Irina is faced with a life changing choice: does she stick with her decent, reliable yet slightly dull long-term partner Lawrence, or does she give it all up for a life of passion and unpredictability with hard living and exciting snooker player Ramsey? The book then branches into two; in alternate chapters it shows what happens when Irina leaves Lawrence, and what happens when she stays.

The result is an entrancing read. Now, I'll be the first to admit that snooker is not the sexiest of sports. But, as with Shriver's other sports novel Double Fault, it's almost not what Shriver writes about but the way she writes about it. On paper, her subject content sounds fairly dull; snooker, middle age people falling in love, the politics of Northern Ireland. And yet she still manages to intrigue and draw the reader in, and to make them care. Plus, anyone who is able to take the dull relation of the sports world and make it sound interesting and even a little bit sexy will always get my admiration.
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Format: Hardcover
Before you spend time reading my review instead of the wonderful "The Post-Birthday world", let me tell you at the start - it's fantastic and you must rush out straight away to buy a copy. Then clear your diary till you've finished it!

The writing is accomplished, the story is compelling, but it is all the little asides, the philosophising about life that for me really takes Shriver's work out of the realm of the ordinary. Again and again while reading this book I was astounded at how she seemed to have written down - very eloquently - thoughts that have been jumbling about in my head for years. Some passages were so personally relevant to me, I felt she must have got inside my head somehow. Perhaps it's just that the theme she expounds upon is universal and perhaps many readers will feel the same way I did.

The story centres about Irina. She has been in a long-term relationship with stable, good-but-boring guy Lawrence. While Lawrence is away one night, she ends up going out for dinner with Ramsey the ex-husband of a former friend. Ramsey is a dapper, sexy, famous snooker player. They have a great night, end up going back to his house and at the end of the first chapter we find them just about to kiss.

Chapter two begins the story of what happened after the kiss. Subsequently we find there is a second chapter two which starts in a world where the kiss did not happen. The book proceeds in this fashion - two of each chapter showing what happens in each possible world.

We've all been there - wondering what would have happened if I left/didn't leave a certain partner. Would my life have been better if I opted for sexy rather than stable? Should I have abandoned security and gone for the dangerous option?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this because I really enjoyed Lionel Shriver's other novels, so not sure how she could produce something this bad. I took this book on holiday and couldn't even bear to read it to the end while sat on a sunlounger with nothing else to do. From the vapid, heroine to the ungengaging storyline (I honestly couldn't have cared less what she did with her love life) this was awful. But the most gratingly horrible thing by far was the shocking American attempt at Ramsey the snooker player's English vernacular, which was a confusing mix of Dick Van Dyke cockney and a parody of Northern colloquialisms as imagined by a patronising American academic. I don't think anybody in the North speaks like this. Or England. Or the world. And nobody quotes Snooker Loopy quite so often, and without irony. Maybe I am doing this book an injustice and it had a fantastic ending. But I am happy never to find out.
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Format: Paperback
Where some people find love Lionel Shriver's endless reflections on life and the relationships irritating, I love them. I found the protagonist's affection for her live-in partner Lawrence much easier to understand than I did Eva's passion for her one-dimensional husband in "We need to talk about Kevin".
Other reviewers are disgusted by Irina's tendency to live her life around her boyfriend in this book, but it's a trap that many women fall into, well illustrated by the book, as is the financial insecurity that comes from an insecure, poorly paid creative career. It's feminism for people who don't like the word "feminism".
I was very interested to learn that the author married the ex-husband of one of the now-ex-agents who rejected "We need to talk about Kevin". So that's where Jude and Ramsey came from!
However, the author's inexplicable failure to grasp British English really marred my pleasure in this book. Several times Ramsey's ridiculous, cringe-inducing speech tempted me to give up reading, and when I read about things such as going to the loo for shampoo I had to stop short and try to work out what she meant. I'm not from the UK, but it seems easy enough to understand that Britons, while they may not use the US euphemism "going to the bathroom", still call their bathrooms "bathrooms". It was very disappointing to find a writer I admire behaving like the literary equivalent of Keanu Reeves in "Dracula".
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