The Post-Birthday World

  • by Lionel Shriver
  • Narrated by Tanya Eby Sirois
  • 20 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Children's book illustrator Irina McGovern enjoys a quiet and settled life in London with her partner, fellow American expatriate Lawrence Trainer, a smart, loyal, disciplined intellectual at a prestigious think tank. To their small circle of friends, their relationship is rock solid, until the night Irina unaccountably finds herself dying to kiss another man: their old friend from South London, the stylish, extravagant, passionate top-ranking snooker player Ramsey Acton.The decision to give in to temptation will have consequences for her career, her relationships with family and friends, and perhaps, most importantly, the texture of her daily life. Hinging on a single kiss, this enchanting work of fiction depicts Irina's alternating futures with two men temperamentally worlds apart yet equally honorable. With which true love Irina is better off is neither obvious nor easy to determine, but Shriver's exploration of the two destinies is memorable and gripping. Poignant and deeply honest, written with the subtlety and wit that are the hallmarks of Shriver's work, The Post-Birthday World appeals to the what-if in us all.

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What the Critics Say

"The rewards for sticking with these 500-plus pages are as delicious as one of Irina's feasts." (The Washington Post)
"Best novel of '07." (Entertainment Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What is wrong with these people?

I cannot understand the negative reviews for this magnificent book. Lionel Shriver is one of the best writers working today, but, unfortunately, does not garner the plaudits and hype that fall to writers like Jonathon Franzen and (this year) Jennifer Egan. Both of these writers are great, but so is Shriver. Post-Birthday World is a challenging and completely engaging story of a woman faced with a critical life choice at a critical moment and Shriver takes us down both paths the woman could have chosen. Structurally, Post-Birthday world puts Shriver in good company with those other narrative benders, Egan and David Mitchell, but Shriver breathes such life and depth into her characters putting her on a level all her own. Read this book. Wow.
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- Francis

A terrific examinination of relationships

Unlike some other reviewers, I loved this book and thought the narrator was fine. Shriver's focus in this novel is the nature of relationships itself: how it is that so many of us seek happiness and cannot fully figure out when we have it, how we squander it, how we lose it, and how all of our choices, however small, change us. Who are we attracted to? How important is sex? How do we become different when we're with different kinds of people? Who, then, are we anyway? By examining parallel imaginative lives, this novel allows us to think harder and wiser about our own possibilities, decisions, and realities. Ironically, while the chapters end up shifting between 'black' and white' ??? as a way of dividing up the different lives ??? by the end, the entire conceit shows that while 'black' and 'white' are different, they're not about right or wrong, they're just about different paths. I might also add, that I got so addicted to listening to this novel , I also downloaded the Kindle version for the moments I had time to read even faster than I could listen.
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- Susan D

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-29-2009
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio