We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

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That neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child’s character is self-evident. But generalizations about genes are likely to provide cold comfort if it’s your own child who just opened fire on his fellow algebra students and whose class photograph—with its unseemly grin—is shown on the evening news coast-to-coast.

If the question of who’s to blame for teenage atrocity intrigues news-watching voyeurs, it tortures our narrator, Eva Khatchadourian. Two years before the opening of the novel, her son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and the much-beloved teacher who had tried to befriend him. Because his sixteenth birthday arrived two days after the killings, he received a lenient sentence and is currently in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York.

In relating the story of Kevin’s upbringing, Eva addresses her estranged husband, Frank, through a series of startingly direct letters. Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son became, she confesses to a deep, long-standing ambivalence about both motherhood in general—and Kevin in particular. How much is her fault?

We Need To Talk About Kevin offers no at 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 the most prosperous country in history. Instead, Lionel Shriver tells a compelling, absorbing, and resonant story with an explosive, haunting ending. She considers motherhood, marriage, family, career—while framing these horrifying tableaus of teenage carnage as metaphors for the larger tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.

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430 pages, published in
Lionel Shriver

A book by Lionel Shriver

Lionel Shriver (born Margaret Ann Shriver at birth, born May 18, 1957) is an American journalist and writer. She was born in Gastonia, North Carolina to a deeply religious family — her father is a Presbyterian priest. She did not like the name given to her at birth and changed it at 15 from Margaret Ann to Lionel. she was a tomboy girl and believed that a man`s name suited her better. Lionel was educated at Barnard College, Columbia University. She has lived in Nairobi, Bangkok and Belfast and now lives in London. In 2006 she was awarded the Orange Prize for her eighth published novel "We Need to Talk About Kevin" (known in Russia as "The Price of Dislike"). The book is a thriller about a split in maternal feelings, which may have played a decisive role in her son`s murder of seven classmates. The book caused a lot of controversy and was a huge success only with the help of information transmitted by word of mouth. Previous novels by Shriver include The Female of the Species (1986), Checker and the Derailleurs (1987), Ordinary Decent Criminals (1990), Game Control (1994), A Perfectly Good Family (1996) and Double Fault (1997). Her ninth novel, The Post-Birthday World, was published in 2007 by HarperCollins. In July 2005, Shriver began writing a column for The Guardian, in which she shared her views on the nature of the mothers of Western society, the pettiness of the British government and the importance of libraries (she plans to transfer all her property to the Belfast library after her death, from which she borrowed books during their residence in Northern Ireland).

We Need to Talk About Kevin PDF

Lionel Shriver (born Margaret Ann Shriver at birth, born May 18, 1957) is an American journalist and writer. She was born in Gastonia, North Carolina to a deeply religious family — her father is a Presbyterian priest. She did not like the name given to her at birth and changed it at 15 from Margaret Ann to Lionel. she was a tomboy girl and believed that a man`s name suited her better. Lionel was educated at Barnard College, Columbia University. She has lived in Nairobi, Bangkok and Belfast and now lives in London. In 2006 she was awarded the Orange Prize for her eighth published novel "We Need to Talk About Kevin" (known in Russia as "The Price of Dislike"). The book is a thriller about a split in maternal feelings, which may have played a decisive role in her son`s murder of seven classmates. The book caused a lot of controversy and was a huge success only with the help of information transmitted by word of mouth. Previous novels by Shriver include The Female of the Species (1986), Checker and the Derailleurs (1987), Ordinary Decent Criminals (1990), Game Control (1994), A Perfectly Good Family (1996) and Double Fault (1997). Her ninth novel, The Post-Birthday World, was published in 2007 by HarperCollins. In July 2005, Shriver began writing a column for The Guardian, in which she shared her views on the nature of the mothers of Western society, the pettiness of the British government and the importance of libraries (she plans to transfer all her property to the Belfast library after her death, from which she borrowed books during their residence in Northern Ireland).