The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver****

10 August 2020 | ,

Reading dates: 17 June – 09 August 2020

I loved this book both in form and content. It relates the story, ‘Sliding Doors’ style, of what would happen if Irina, who is in a long term relationship, kissed Ramsey on his birthday (which she wants to) or didn’t, in alternating chapters. Shriver writes with flair and nothing is wasted in the story, especially not the ending. Every episode, every turn in the plot adds something and develops the characters. Her style is raw and I had to stop reading it once —and I should have another time but I was too far into it. It really affected me, which is why it does not get 5*. It should do, on its own merits; I am just not sure I would bear reading it again, which is my criterion for the highest mark. Incidentally, I also very much enjoyed the snooker stories and seeing some well known players as characters. The Crucible world finals are so well described, so tense, it evoked some of my own experience watching some matches (Ebdon-Hendry in 2002 comes to mind).

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the post-birthday world