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Summary

'Love me, love my game,' says professional tennis player Willy Novinsky at 23. Tennis has been Willy's one love - until she meets the uncannily confident Eric Oberdorf. Low-ranked but untested, Eric, too, aims to make his mark on the international tennis circuit.

They marry. But their life together soon grows poisoned by full-tilt competition over which spouse can rise to the top first. Willy discovers that her perfect partner may also prove her most devastating opponent.

An unflinching look at the ravages of rivalry in the two-career relationship, Double Fault is not so much about tennis as about marriage - a slightly different sport.

©1997 Lionel Shriver (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"When feminism has become the politics that dare not speak its name, it is refreshing to find an author who will bring such renewed vigour to the gender wars." ( The Guardian)
"A brilliant tale of doomed love." ( The Observer)
"With prose as taut as a well-strung racquet, you'll be captivated." ( Marie Claire)

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Harrowing account of jealousy and mental illness

This novel is analogous to a sickening car accident, painted by a brilliant artist of the super realist school. Technically it is brilliant with convincing dialogue and scenes. The story feels entirely plausible although Eric, our heroine's husband is almost too kind and forgiving to believe. But the unrelenting misery of the story arc, the lack of humour, and sheer madness and stupidity of the heroine grate after a while. It actually began to affect my mood and it was a relief to finish it. The end is touching though, as is the afterword by Lionel Shriver herself. Jennifer Woodward does a fine job as sole narrator.