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We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin 1

by Lionel Shriver

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 06/03/2006

3/5 Rating 1 Reviews
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Kevin Katchadourian killed seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher, shortly before his sixteenth birthday.

He is visited in prison by his mother, Eva, who narrates in a series of letters to her estranged husband Franklin, the story of Kevin's upbringing. A successful career woman, Eva is reluctant to forgo her independence and the life she shares with Franklin to become a mother.

Once Kevin is born, she experiences extreme alienation and dislike of Kevin as he grows up to become a spiteful and cruel child. When Kevin commits murder, Eva fears that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become.

But how much is she to blame? And if it isn't her fault, why did he do it?

ISBN:
9781921145087
9781921145087
Category:
Contemporary fiction
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
06-03-2006
Publisher:
Text Publishing
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
480
Dimensions (mm):
199x129x31mm
Weight:
0.33kg
Lionel Shriver

Lionel Shriver's novels include the National Book Award finalist So Much for That, the New York Times bestseller The Post-Birthday World, and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Her journalism has appeared in the Guardian and the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications. She lives in London and Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

3 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • skilfully crafted

    by on

    We Need to Talk About Kevin is the 8th novel by Lionel Shriver. The format is a series of letters written by Eva Khatchadourian to her absent husband, Franklin, which are a sort of analytical reminiscence about their lives before the arrival of their son, Kevin, their reasons for having a baby, the prelude and then the immediate and long term aftermath of Kevins actions on that fateful Thursday two years previous. The Thursday consistently referred to in italics is when Kevin murdered seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker and a popular English teacher. Eva examines the events of their lives trying to ascertain if and how she may have been at fault for Kevins actions, and what his reasons for them may have been. It is a very one-sided analysis that, at some points, will have the reader sympathising with Eva, whilst at other times she comes across as a selfish, self-centred, often thoughtless, opinionated snob. There is some black humour, but on the whole, the subject matter precludes this. It is certainly not an easy read, both for the subject matter and the writing style, which starts with long convoluted sentences, but the final chapters make it well worth persevering with. Shriver address many issues: the nature or nurture debate; the hysteria caused by school shootings; why people decide to have children; what constitutes negligent parenting; is there anything you cannot forgive your children for. The story is skilfully crafted and I did not see the twist at the end coming. Shriver effectively conveys the experience of the forgotten victims of these mass murders: the family of the murderer. The sense of tragedy is strongly communicated. This novel left me with an overwhelming feeling of sadness.