Two years ago, Eva Khatchadourian's son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a popular algebra teacher. Now, in a series of letters to her absent husband, Eva recounts the story of how Kevin came to be Kevin.
Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become, she confesses to a deep, long-standing ambivalence about both motherhood in general and Kevin in particular. How much is her fault? When did it all start to go so wrong—or was it, in fact, ever 'right' at all?
Lionel Shriver tells a compelling, absorbing, and resonant story while framing the horrifying tableau of teenage carnage as a metaphor for the larger tragedy—the tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.
About the Author
Lionel Shriver is a novelist whose previous books include The Post-Birthday World, A Perfectly Good Family, Game Control, Double Fault, The Female of the Species, Checker and the Derailleurs, and Ordinary Decent Criminals. She is widely published as a journalist, writing features, columns, op-eds, and book reviews for the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Economist, Marie Claire, and many other publications. She is frequently interviewed on television, radio, and in print media. She lives in London and Brooklyn, NY.
`Addresses head-on the question that causes anguish to the greatest readers of fiction these days, middle-class women: when to, or even why, have a child?' * Australian *
`By far the best novel I've read in years...exquisitely crafted...a breathtaking work of art.' * Age *
`Brilliant...compulsive.' * Guardian *
`An elegant psychological and philosophical investigation of culpability with a brilliant denoument...although (Eva's) reliability as a narrator becomes increasingly questionable as she oscillates between anger, self-pity and regret, her search for answers becomes just as compulsive for the reader.' * Observer *
`Harrowing, tense and thought-provoking, this is a vocal challenge to every accepted parenting manual you've ever read.' * Daily Mail *
`One of the most striking works of fiction to be published this year. It is Desperate Housewives as written by Euripides...A powerful, gripping and original meditation on evil.' * New Statesman *
`[Shriver's] detailed depiction of a marriage and a family torn apart by silence is disarmingly direct...Shriver's novel is a timely one...maybe we all need to talk about Kevin...Nature or nurture? Shriver leaves it to the reader to decide in this powerful cautionary tale.' * Belfast Telegraph *
`Few novels leave you gasping at the final paragraph as if the breath had been knocked from your body. Yet such is the impact of We Need to Talk About Kevin...Shriver's novel subjects a sensitive topic to fierce and tough-minded scrutiny.' * Bookseller *
`A great read with horrifying twists and turns.' * Marie Claire *
`A deeply shocking but mesmerising novel.' * Herald *
`This book asks the question many women are afraid to ask: does maternal instinct really exist...A good read for all women who have struggled with the loss of self that often comes with motherhood.' * Big Issue *
`Forces the reader to confront assumptions about love and parenting, about how and why we apportion blame, about crime and punishment, forgiveness and redemption.' * Independent *
`One of the bravest books I've ever read...original, powerful, resonant, witty, fascinating and deeply intelligent.' * Sunday Business Post *