Thursday, 20 September 2007


This is a very grown-up book, and it turns out I don't read a lot of those. I read a lot of kids books, and hight-brow big-L Literature, but not a lot of contemporary fiction intelligently discussing normal adult issues.

The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver is constructed in a kind of Sliding Doors way whereby early on the in book the main character Irina, chooses whether to leave her husband for another man. The chapters then alternate between the continuing story of either scenario. A la Sliding Doors, it all comes back together at the end.

I'm still a bit undecided about this one. For the first while I was really disinterested in it - just didn't care. To start with it's all very grown up, and I am apparently not quite there yet. Also, I don't have a lot of sympathy for cheaters, and so I wasn't interested in what happened in one story. And the other story, well, it's only really interesting as a comparison, at first at least. Who wants to read about a woman who stays with her husband? Not exactly a riveting plotline.

But I stuck with it, and after a while I found it interesting. Eventually I developed a rapport with the characters, and there's a lot of metaphysical questions that are dealt with: 'is there one person for everybody, or do you have to simply make a choice and live with it?', 'will things work out a particular way no matter what you choose?', 'is it more important to choose someone you fancy like mad, or someone you can grow old with?' etc etc.

It's well written which makes life easier, and the characters are all interesting. It's not terribly fast paced, but relaxing and gentle without being dull. In the end it didn't knock my socks off, but it was good to read a book that considered larger issues, without smacking you over the head with how intelligent and important it is. At the start I was close to giving up, but having read the whole thing, I think I'd be happy to re-read it sometime down the track. And if I'd bought it rather than borrowed it, I think I'd consider the money well spent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hello! :)
just dropping by and leaving you a note to see how you are! hope you're doing ok and hear from you soon!

SP Ayu