The New Republic: Book summary and reviews of The New Republic by Lionel Shriver

The New Republic

A Novel

By Lionel Shriver

The New Republic

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Book Summary

Ostracized as a kid, Edgar Kellogg has always yearned to be popular. A disgruntled New York corporate lawyer, he's more than ready to leave his lucrative career for the excitement and uncertainty of journalism. When he's offered the post of foreign correspondent in a Portuguese backwater that has sprouted a homegrown terrorist movement, Edgar recognizes the disappeared larger-than-life reporter he's been sent to replace, Barrington Saddler, as exactly the outsize character he longs to emulate. Infuriatingly, all his fellow journalists cannot stop talking about their beloved "Bear," who is no longer lighting up their work lives.

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, backward, and windblown that you couldn't give the rat hole away. So why, with Barrington vanished, do terrorist incidents claimed by the "SOB" suddenly dry up?

A droll, playful novel, The New Republic addresses weighty issues like terrorism with the deft, tongue-in-cheek touch that is vintage Shriver. It also presses the more intimate question: What makes particular people so magnetic, while the rest of us inspire a shrug? What's their secret? And in the end, who has the better life - the admired, or the admirer?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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." - Publishes Weekly

"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." - Library Journal

"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." - Booklist

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Author Information

Lionel Shriver Author Biography

Jerry Bauer

Journalist and author Lionel Shriver was born Margaret Ann Shriver in 1957 in North Carolina, USA. She changed her name to Lionel at the age of 15 because she wanted to distance herself from the "girl with the pink ribbons in her hair, who married her high-school sweetheart and became an apple-cheeked housewife" that she felt was implied by the name Margaret Ann and the expectations of her family.

She received a BA and MFA from Columbia University and, since then, has lived in Nairobi, Bangkok, Belfast (where she reported on the Troubles for 12 years) and London.

Her first novel, The Female of the Species, was published when she was 29 (1986), and was followed by Checker and the Derailleurs (1987), Ordinary Decent Criminals (1990), Game Control (1994), A ...

... Full Biography

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