We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (Paperback)
"Impossible to put down. . . . Who, in the end, needs to talk about Kevin? Maybe we all do.” — Boston Globe
Acclaimed author Lionel Shriver's gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry
Shriver’s resonant story of a mother’s unsettling quest to understand her teenage son’s deadly violence, her own ambivalence toward motherhood, and the explosive link between them reverberates with the haunting power of high hopes shattered by dark realities.
Eva never really wanted to be a mother—and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.
Like Shriver’s charged and incisive later novels, including So Much for That and The Post-Birthday World, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a piercing, unforgettable, and penetrating exploration of violence, family ties, and responsibility.
Although Lionel Shriver has published many novels, a collection of essays, and a column in the Spectator since 2017, and her journalism has been featured in publications including the Guardian, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, she in no way wishes for the inclusion of this information to imply that she is more “intelligent” or “accomplished” than anyone else. The outdated meritocracy of intellectual achievement has made her a bestselling author multiple times and accorded her awards, including the Orange Prize, but she accepts that all of these accidental accolades are basically meaningless. She lives in Portugal and Brooklyn, New York.
“Ms. Shriver takes a calculated risk . . . but the gamble pays off as she strikes a tone of compelling intimacy.” — Wall Street Journal
“Furiously imagined.” — Seattle Times
“An underground feminist hit.” — New York Observer
“A slow, magnetic descent into hell that is as fascinating as it is disturbing.” — Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Shriver handles this material, with its potential for cheap sentiment and soap opera plot, with rare skill and sense.” — Newark Star Ledger
“Powerful [and] harrowing.” — Entertainment Weekly
“Impossible to put down.” — Boston Globe