I was delighted to learn that my literary idol, Lionel Shriver, will be coming out with a new novel in March, 2012: The New Republic. I will buy anything she writes, of course (as you know if I’ve ever cornered you to rave about We Need to Talk About Kevin…and when will that movie get here already??). This one is not a book that might initially appeal to me, but Lionel Shriver can do no wrong IMHO, and the book’s backstory is certainly interesting:
“…a novel she wrote in 1998 will finally see the light of day on March 27, 2012. Seems that publishing three bestsellers in a row gives you a little more leeway when it comes to choosing difficult material as your subject.
“As Shriver told the website Culture, The New Republic deals with terrorism “on a peninsula in Portugal which doesn’t exist—I drew it onto the map. I wrote it in 1998 and at that time I had trouble getting American publishers interested in the manuscript—none of them were interested in terrorism until after 9/11. . . . Now in some ways the US cares too much about terrorism and for a long time I felt it would be wrong to publish something that has a sense of humour about the issue. Enough time has gone by for a droll novel to be well received.” Read the rest.
This Daily Beast interview with Shriver is titled: “The Oracle of the Uncomfortable”:
“When asked about the subject of her next novel, American author Lionel Shriver replies simply, “fat.” This will be her “obesity book.” The proposed plot: a woman risks her marriage to help her morbidly overweight brother. [NOTE: This is the book that will follow The New Republic.] Not a comfortable theme, perhaps, but that should come as no surprise to Shriver’s admirers. After all, her previous tomes have dealt with terrorism, death, and the failings of the U.S. health-care system, and—in her 2003 bestseller, We Need To Talk About Kevin—the nightmare perils of parenthood. Some writers might hesitate to upset the public with truths usually left unspoken; for Shriver, that’s her business. “There is no point writing book after book about what other people have already addressed ad nauseam. I am always working toward what we have all been avoiding.”
And for some writerly inspiration, here’s the backstory of We Need to Talk About Kevin:
“Kevin, her seventh book, was rejected by 30 publishers. Her own agent advised a wholesale revision to lighten the darkness and add “a lot more humor.” The failure forced her to consider abandoning fiction altogether. Only the faith of an editor at a small London publishing firm saved the book from oblivion. (Shriver parted company with the agent, whom she now describes, with a suggestion of understatement, as “quite annoyed.”) A slow-burn success, the book’s popularity grew by word of mouth. Even before Kevin won the Orange Prize in 2005, one of Britain’s top literary awards, the book already featured on the Times of London’s bestseller list. Early pre-fame admirers included Lynne Ramsay, director of the Kevin movie, who bid for the film rights.”
Read on. And mark your calendars for the book release!