The New Republic

The New Republic

2.7 4
by Lionel Shriver
     
 

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Acclaimed author Lionel Shriver—author of the National Book Award finalist So Much for That, The Post-Birthday World, and the vivid psychological novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, now a major motion picture—probes the mystery of charisma in a razor-sharp new novel that teases out the intimate relationship between terrorism and

Overview

Acclaimed author Lionel Shriver—author of the National Book Award finalist So Much for That, The Post-Birthday World, and the vivid psychological novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, now a major motion picture—probes the mystery of charisma in a razor-sharp new novel that teases out the intimate relationship between terrorism and cults of personality, explores what makes certain people so magnetic, and reveals the deep frustrations of feeling overshadowed by a life-of-the-party who may not even be present.

“Shriver is a master of the misanthrope. . . . [A] viciously smart writer.” —Time

Editorial Reviews

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.”
People
“[Shriver’s] whip-smart observations—about relationships, the role of the media, the cult of personality are funny and on the mark.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Publishers Weekly
A separatist organization based in a fictionalized Portuguese peninsula could have been fertile territory for Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) to send up terrorism, but this lightly ironic novel, written in the mid-’90s and offered now that we have enough distance from 9/11, is done in by a woolly plot and an out-of-date atmosphere. Edgar Kellogg, who has always played second fiddle to more charismatic men, quits his corporate law job to pursue journalism, finding temporary employment as a stringer at the National Record. Kellogg’s first mission: to locate the former stringer, missing in “Barba,” a god-forsaken region of Portugal and home turf to the radical Os Soldados Ousados de Barba (SOB). As Kellogg quickly learns, the former stringer belonged to that category of charismatic men: a beloved, larger-than-life character who had everyone eating out of the palm of his hand. But soon the puzzling circumstances of the stringer’s disappearance—hinting at connections to the SOB—offer Kellogg the chance to assume his predecessor’s social mantle. Though Shriver’s characters are sharply drawn, they lack sympathy, and several plot contrivances are too jarring to overlook. Terrorism is merely a backdrop to a fairly banal exploration of popularity. (Mar. 27)
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."
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."
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."
Library Journal
Shriver, a National Book Award finalist for So Much for That, which tackles health care, takes on terrorism in her newest novel (which was actually written in 1998 but is just being released now). Reporter Edgar Kellogg is sent to an imaginary outpost called Barba to report on the terrorist activities of the SOB (Os Soldados Ousados de Barba—the Daring Soldiers of Barba). He's replacing the larger-than-life Barrington Saddler, who has mysteriously disappeared. The book's satire is timely; we see reporters hungering for violence, terrorist outfits clamoring for attention, and would-be terrorists rising to positions of respect and prominence. There's also a fascinating plotline that raises the question of whether a terrorist group has to be real to be effective. Less interesting is the main character, a former fat kid and a former lawyer desperate to step out of the shadows of the various men he's idolized. It's hard to care about him; more compelling is the chemistry between him and the elusive Saddler. VERDICT While the characters are forgettable and the satire doesn't go quite far enough, this is still an interesting read that might appeal to fans of Tom Perrotta. [See Prepub Alert, 10/9/11.]—Evelyn Beck, Piedmont Technical Coll., Greenwood, SC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062107190
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/27/2012
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
536
Sales rank:
1,291,175
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Lionel Shriver's novels include The New Republic, So Much for That, The Post-Birthday World, and the international bestseller 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.

Brief Biography

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

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The New Republic 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
honestreview More than 1 year ago
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.
Xiaolong1 More than 1 year ago
Good