Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

2005 Women's Prize for Fiction Winner

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver


Publisher: Harper Perennial

Length: 416 pages

About: Mother's growing understanding of son

Style: 3rd person

Where: New York USA

When: 1990s



Publisher’s synopsis:

We Need to Talk About Kevin offers no pat explanations for why so many white, well-to-do adolescents - whether in Pearl, Paducah, Springfield, or Littleton - have gone nihilistically off the rails while growing up in suburban comfort. Instead, Lionel Shriver tells a compelling, absorbing, and resonant story while framing these horrifying tableaux of teenage carnage as metaphors for the larger tragedy ... the tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.







Our son, who is not a smattering of small tales but one long one. And through natural impulse of yarn spinners is to begin at the beginning, I will resist it. I have to go further back. So many stories are determined before they start.







A number of fictional attempts have been made to portray what might lead a teenager to kill a number of schoolmates or teachers, Columbine style, but Shriver's is the most triumphantly accomplished by far....It's a harrowing, psychologically astute, sometimes even darkly humorous novel.

Publisher's Weekly





Not so good:

By the close of the book Shriver has left Kevin's motivation open, although his mother is absolved of all blame. And she has rendered her exploration of motherhood futile by linking it to such black events. Maybe there are books to be written about teenage killers and about motherhood, but this discordant and misguided novel isn't one of them.

Sarah Smith, The Guardian 15 November 2003





About the author

Lionel Shriver has written extensively for the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Economist. She lives in London and New York. She is married to jazz drummer Jeff Williams



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Age guide: 12+



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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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