Book Review: We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
WEN reading club meet every month
This month the WEN reading group got stuck into the 468 pages of Lionel Shriver’s million-selling novel.
It was my first visit to a book group, and as I marched myself down to the Drayton Court I had no idea what to expect. Clutching my copy of WNTTAK like an entry ticket, I tried to survey the delightful wood-panelled pub purposefully, until I spotted two young women at the bar. There was nothing for it but to accost them with the line, ‘Are you here to talk about Kevin?’ They were, and soon the whole group was off – when it comes to Kevin, there’s plenty to talk about.
Yes, as the narrative works its way inexorably towards the dreadful events that must be recounted, the reader wants to know what happened, but more than that, like Eva, you want to decide how much she is culpable for the way Kevin turned out.
The authenticity of this description is all the more impressive given that Shriver is not a mother herself. It’s a feel-bad book but I challenge you not to have a strong reaction to it.
That made it the perfect choice to ignite the debate in the Drayton Court. The other reprieves that kept me hooked despite the macabre theme, and arguably over-long series of anecdotes of Kevin’s increasingly ghoulish misdemeanours, were Shriver’s fresh and arresting use of imagery and language. The pinpoint accuracy of her observations of the minutiae of married life is enough to make you sit up.
April 10th, 2010