Review | Tuesday 30 March 2010
Lionel Shriver’s latest offering can make for uncomfortable reading. That is to say, Shriver dissects a marriage that’s slowly dying in a no-holds-barred prose style; an abrupt shift from her emotionally-charged previous novel, The Post-Birthday World.
While a lot of books focus on the more salacious and extraordinary facets of modern day relationships, this work highlights the way work, family commitments and ill health interfere in our personal relationships. What makes this book unique is its frank discussion about money and the role it plays in a marriage, not to mention the petty squabbling and lingering resentment if can often lead to. This is not to say Shriver’s book makes for depressing reading. Its tone may be pessimistic but ultimately it offers the reader a sense of catharsis in its rendering of an everyday marriage facing the uglier side of life.
While no easy solutions are offered, Shriver excels in making the reader think about their own relationships and the importance of cherishing what’s there, instead of focusing on what’s missing.