Reader reviews and comments on The Post-Birthday World, plus links to write your own review.

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The Post-Birthday World

by Lionel Shriver

The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver X
The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2007, 528 pages
    Mar 2008, 528 pages

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Incredible Technique!
As a story, this book is okay (twice). It was not the kind of book I "couldn't put down" until the last few chapters, when I absolutely HAD to know how things were going to turn out in each universe. For a while, I'd think one life was better; then I'd be sure it was the other. I am convinced the author did exactly as Irina did when she .... [edited to remove plot spoiler].

Aside from the story, which many reviews have described so I won't, there is the technique! What fun it must have been to have included some of the same details in the corresponding chapters, and what fun it was to "discover" them. The little rubber ring from a car used as a "wedding ring" in one chapter causes an excuse for a long, romantic walk in the opposing chapter, for example. What was most clever was the way the final chapter [edited to remove plot spoiler]. Not just anybody could do that!! Of course, I found myself favoring one life over the other, but I think that's the point to some extent...and then to question your choice. Is great passion worth hurting something so very stable? Is stability worth giving up great passion? In the end, either way, Irina lived in a way that satisfied her.

I received this book from BookBrowse (I won it - thanks BookBrowse!) so I felt I should write a review of it, and now I want to read "We Need to Talk About Kevin" by the same author because I really do like her style of writing. She thinks I'm smart (doesn't dumb down her prose) and I appreciate that.

What If?
The plot of this novel is a love triangle where book illustrator Irina leaves her defacto husband, the reliable but dull Lawrence, for the sexy, handsome snooker champion Ramsey. That is one option however as what we have is a parallel universe where each chapter swaps back and forth from alternative scenarios where she does or she doesn't and how each choice affects all aspects of Irina's life . I did find the characters a bit unlikeable and self obsessed but an interesting look at the minutae of relationships . I found myself reflecting on my own choices in life and thoughts on happiness and contentment.

Not for Everybody
I barely got through 3 chapters of this book before deciding it wasn't for me. I just didn't buy the protaganist's actions, nor her husband's. It was a book I was doubtful of from the beginning, but I saw it at my library and decided to give it a try. In my opinion, its not worth your time.
Wayne of Canberra

The Post Birthday World could have been a mildly entertaining short story if, say, you had nothing else to read in the house, but 517 pages? Shriver's prose is like the smarty-pants kid in the class who has just learned all these big words and doesn't know when to stop. An unoriginal idea beaten to within an inch of its life. Shlock.
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