The New Republic: A Novel

( 4 )

Overview

Edgar Kellogg has always yearned to be popular. When he leaves his lucrative law career for a foreign correspondent post in a Portuguese backwater with a homegrown terrorist movement, Edgar recognizes Barrington Saddler, the disappeared reporter he's replacing, as the larger-than-life character he longs to emulate. Yet all is not as it appears. Os Soldados Ousados de Barba—"The Daring Soldiers of Barba" —have been blowing up the rest of the world for years in order to win independence for a province so ...

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The New Republic

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Overview

Edgar Kellogg has always yearned to be popular. When he leaves his lucrative law career for a foreign correspondent post in a Portuguese backwater with a homegrown terrorist movement, Edgar recognizes Barrington Saddler, the disappeared reporter he's replacing, as the larger-than-life character he longs to emulate. Yet all is not as it appears. Os Soldados Ousados de Barba—"The Daring Soldiers of Barba" —have been blowing up the rest of the world for years in order to win independence for a province so dismal and backward that you couldn't give the rathole away. So why, with Barrington vanished, do incidents claimed by the "SOB" suddenly dry up? A droll, playful novel, The New Republic addresses terrorism with a deft, tongue-in- cheek touch while also pressing a more intimate question: What makes particular people so magnetic, while the rest of us inspire a shrug?

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Editorial Reviews

The Daily Beast-- This Week's Hot Reads
“Lionel Shriver, the author of the harrowing and patient We Need to Talk About Kevin, delivers something altogether different: a callous and romping political and journalistic satire.”
Booklist (starred review)
“A wondrously fanciful plot, vividly drawn characters, clever and cynical dialogue, and a comically brilliant and verisimilar imagined land. . . . The New Republic is simply terrific.”
People Magazine
"[Shriver’s] whip-smart observations—about relationships, the role of the media, the cult of personality are funny and on the mark."
"Weekend Edition" - NPR
"A very funny book, but the laughs are embedded in a deeply disturbing subject."
Miami Herald
“Shriver is cursed with knowing the human animal all too well. The New Republic is satire of a Shriver kind, that is to say biting.”
USA Today
“Shriver is one of the sharpest talents around.”
Wall Street Journal
“Witty, caustic and worldly, [Shriver] is a raconteur who could show even Barrington Saddler a thing or two about entertaining a crowd.”
Reader's Digest Recommends
“Shriver has been a National Book Award finalist with good reason: Her page-turners examine serious issues.”
Booklist
"A wondrously fanciful plot, vividly drawn characters, clever and cynical dialogue, and a comically brilliant and verisimilar imagined land. . . . The New Republic is simply terrific."
Financial Times
“Part Scoop, part Our Man in Havana and part Len Deighton thriller, Shriver’s novel is not just about terrorism but also about journalism and the nature of charisma. . . . Shriver’s Barba is a wonderful creation.”
People
“[Shriver’s] whip-smart observations—about relationships, the role of the media, the cult of personality are funny and on the mark.”
This Week's Hot Reads - The Daily Beast
"Lionel Shriver, the author of the harrowing and patient We Need to Talk About Kevin, delivers something altogether different: a callous and romping political and journalistic satire."
Entertainment Weekly
“The dialogue zings and the writing is jazzy. . . . [Shriver] can toss off a sharp sketch of a passing character in a phrase, and she’s got a gimlet eye for what’s phony, or affected, or even touchingly vain in human behavior.”
Los Angeles Times
“Shriver is an incisive social satirist with a clear grip on the ironies of our contemporary age . . . [Her] take on journalism and international politics is wry, insightful and just over the top enough to be fun.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“[Shriver] is uncannily perceptive[with a] vigorous capacity for compassion . . . [A] surprisingly tender novel disguised as a clever satire delivered in polished prose.”
Marie Claire
“In her latest novel, Lionel Shriver pays homage to Joseph Conrad—examining terrorism, media bloodlust, and the cult of personality through an unexpected lens of satire.”
"Weekend Edition" NPR
“A very funny book, but the laughs are embedded in a deeply disturbing subject.”
NPR: "Weekend Edition"
“A very funny book, but the laughs are embedded in a deeply disturbing subject.”
The Daily Beast— This Week's Hot Reads
“Lionel Shriver, the author of the harrowing and patient We Need to Talk About Kevin, delivers something altogether different: a callous and romping political and journalistic satire.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062103338
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Series: P.S. Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 373
  • Sales rank: 815,598
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lionel  Shriver

Lionel Shriver's novels include The New Republic, the National Book Award finalist So Much for That, the New York Times bestseller The Post-Birthday World, and the Orange Prize winner We Need to Talk About Kevin. Her journalism has appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. She lives in London and Brooklyn, New York.

Biography

At age seven, Lionel Shriver decided she would be a writer. In 1987, she made good on her promise with The Female of the Species, a debut novel that received admiring reviews. Shriver's five subsequent novels were also well-received; but it was her seventh, 2003's We Need to Talk About Kevin, that turned her into a household name.

Beautiful and deeply disturbing, ...Kevin unfolds as a series of letters written by a distraught mother to her absent husband about their son, a malevolent bad seed who has embarked on a Columbine-style killing spree. Interestingly enough, when Shriver presented the book proposal to her agent, it was rejected out of hand. She shopped the novel around on her own, and eight months later it was picked up by a smaller publishing company. The novel went on to win the 2005 Orange Prize, a UK-based award for female authors of any nationality writing in English.

A graduate of Columbia University, Shriver is also a respected journalist whose features, op-eds, and reviews have appeared in such publications as The Guardian, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and the Economist. Since her breakthrough book, she has continued to produce bestselling fiction and gimlet-eyed journalism in equal measure.

Good To Know

In our interview, Shriver shared some interesting anecdotes about herself with us:

"I am not as nice as I look."

"I am an extremely good cook -- if inclined to lace every dish from cucumber canapés to ice cream with such a malice of fresh chilies that nobody but I can eat it."

"I am a pedant. I insist that people pronounce ‘flaccid' as ‘flaksid,' which is dictionary-correct but defies onomatopoeic instinct and annoys one and all. I never let people get away with using ‘enervated‘ to mean ‘energized,‘ when the word means without energy, thank you very much. Not only am I, apparently, the last remaining American citizen who knows the difference between 'like' and ‘as,‘ but I freely alienate everyone in my surround by interrupting, ‘You mean, as I said.' Or, 'You mean, you gave it to whom,' or ‘You mean, that's just between you and me. ' I am a lone champion of the accusative case, and so –- obviously -- have no friends."

"Whenever I mention that, say, I run an eight-and-a half-mile course around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, or a nine-mile course in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens in London, I inevitably invite either: ‘Huh! I only run five! Who does she think she is? I bet she's slow. Or I bet she's lying.' Or: ‘Hah! What a slacker. That's nothing. I run marathons in under two and a half hours!' So let's just leave it that I do not do this stuff for ‘fun,' since anyone who tells you they get ‘high' on running is definitely lying. Rather, if I did not force myself to trudge about on occasion, I would spend all day poking at my keyboard, popping dried gooseberries, and in short order weigh 300 pounds. In which event I would no longer fit through the study door, and I do not especially wish to type hunched over the computer on the hall carpet."

"My tennis game is deplorable."

"Most people think I'm working on my new novel, but I'm really spending most of 2004 getting up the courage to finally dye my hair."

"I read every article I can find that commends the nutritional benefits of red wine -- since if they're right, I will live to 110."

"Though raised by Aldai Stevenson Democrats, I have a violent, retrograde right-wing streak that alarms and horrifies my acquaintances in New York. And I have been told more than once that I am ‘extreme.' "

"As I run down the list of my preferences, I like dark roast coffee, dark sesame oil, dark chocolate, dark-meat chicken, even dark chili beans -- a pattern emerges that, while it may not put me on the outer edges of human experience, does exude a faint whiff of the unsavory."

"Twelve years in Northern Ireland have left a peculiar residual warp in my accent. House = hyse; shower = shar; now = nye. An Ulster accent bears little relation to the mincing Dublin brogue Americans are more familiar with, and these aberrations are often misinterpreted as holdovers from my North Carolinian childhood (I left Raleigh at 15). Because this handful of souvenir vowels is one of the only things I took away with me from Belfast -- a town that I both love and hate, and loved and hated me, in equal measure -- my wonky pronunciation is a point of pride (or, if you will, vanity), and when my ‘Hye nye bryne cye' ( = ‘how now brown cow') is mistaken for a bog-standard southern American drawl I get mad."

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    1. Hometown:
      Brooklyn, New York, and London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 18, 1957
    2. Place of Birth:
      Gastonia, North Carolina
    1. Education:
      B.A., Barnard College of Columbia University, 1978; M.F.A. in Fiction Writing, Columbia University, 1982
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

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( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2012

    LIonel likes to tell the world how much she hates it. Truth be

    LIonel likes to tell the world how much she hates it. Truth be told, she is a spoiled New Yorker who lost empathy with the human race.
    To write a comedy about terrorism is beneath contempt. Bravo to the NY Times for trashing it. She is not a great American writer.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2012

    Good

    Good

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    As a journalist, I¿ve been one of those who lived in anticipatio

    As a journalist, I’ve been one of those who lived in anticipation of covering “a big story”, and when it happened; be it a natural disaster, horrific accident or multiple murder, almost gleefully sought out the gory details since the more casualties, the more dramatic the story, and the more likely my byline would appear on the front page.

    Lionel Shriver, a journalist herself, knows this rush and how being in the right place at the right time can make a career, just as poor timing and bad luck (for the journalist) can consign one to mediocrity.

    So how far would a journalist go so a “big story event” would land in their lap, where he or she would be on the scene, the go-to person for updates, the reporter other reporters are reporting on?

    When anonymous bombings take lives of civilians and no group comes forward to claim them, Shriver’s protagonist, Barrington Sadler, a larger than life character with a name to match, decides to attribute them to a fictitious terrorist group in a backwater part to the world he is assigned to cover. This provides him with the best of all possible situations for a journalist - being on the spot and having inside information (since he created it).

    When Sadler disappears, his replacement, Edward Kellogg, figures out the scam but rather than expose it, continues with it for the same reasons Sadler did.

    Shriver’s satirical novel asks important questions, specifically is the media complicit with terrorists when they give in-depth coverage of the carnage and background context about their cause?

    Shriver’s creation of the setting (fictitious) and political and economic grievances (contrived) all have the ring of authenticity as do her characters; the cynical media hacks, the pious spokesperson for the terrorists, and the academic apologists.

    The only thing this novel lacks is a sympathetic character, one the reader could align themselves with and cheer for. Everyone is self-serving and nasty.

    Though quite brilliantly conceived and written, once the message has been delivered the story peters out. It’s like the author imbued the characters with the necessary qualities, they did their job conveying various aspects of the story, and then she had no idea what to do with them. The protagonist almost literally rides off into the sunset.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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