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The Post-Birthday World

Length: 24 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Summary

From the Orange Prize winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, this is the novel Lionel Shriver wrote directly afterwards. The Post-Birthday World is an unflinching account of the choices that unfold before us and what our decisions really mean.

Irina McGovern's destiny hinges on a single kiss. Whether she gives in to its temptation will determine whether she stays with her reliable partner, Lawrence, or runs off with Ramsey, a hard-living snooker player.

Employing a parallel universe structure, Shriver spins Irina's competing futures with two drastically different men. An intellectual and fellow American, Lawrence is clever and supportive but rigid and emotionally withdrawn. A British celebrity, Ramsey is passionate and spontaneous but jealous, undereducated and prone to picking arguments. Their contrasting characters will colour her other relationships, her career and the texture of her daily life.

If love is always about trade-offs - if every romantic prospect is flawed - how can we ever know whom to choose?

©2007 Lionel Shriver (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"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." (Independent)
"A compelling survey of the competing merits of security vs. desire." (Guardian)
"Shriver gives us another passionate novel.... Like Sliding Doors, the tale splits into two, following the dramatic turns of each choice. Brilliant." (Cosmopolitan)
"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." (Tatler)
"The Post-Birthday World is 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." (Closer)

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Gave up....

Got 11 hours into this book but had to give up.
Seemingly a very VERY long book for not a lot of action. If you can get past the character that seemingly only talks in mockery cliches, or the arduous but very uninteresting discussion about snooker, or even Shrivers often unnecessarily overly flowery language - this is basically a boring version of sliding doors.
That being said the last 13 hours could be sensational..... but life seems to short to find out.
2 stars given just for the fact that she obviously spent a lot of time writing a very long book.

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PARALLEL UNIVERSES

What a great read (listen). I always enjoy this author's dry, unflashy style, and this book is one of her best.
The reader was excellent too.