We Need To Talk About Kevin
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We Need To Talk About Kevin

4.07 (119,635 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
By (author) 

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Description

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?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 129 x 199 x 31mm | 339g
  • The Text Publishing Company
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • 1921145080
  • 9781921145087
  • 181,221

Review quote

`One of the bravest books I've ever read...original, powerful, resonant, witty, fascinating and deeply intelligent.' * Sunday Business Post * `Forces the reader to confront assumptions about love and parenting, about how and why we apportion blame, about crime and punishment, forgiveness and redemption.' * Independent * `This book asks the question many women are afraid to ask: does maternal instinct really exist...A good read for all women who have struggled with the loss of self that often comes with motherhood.' * Big Issue * `A deeply shocking but mesmerising novel.' * Herald * `A great read with horrifying twists and turns.' * Marie Claire * `Few novels leave you gasping at the final paragraph as if the breath had been knocked from your body. Yet such is the impact of We Need to Talk About Kevin...Shriver's novel subjects a sensitive topic to fierce and tough-minded scrutiny.' * Bookseller * `[Shriver's] detailed depiction of a marriage and a family torn apart by silence is disarmingly direct...Shriver's novel is a timely one...maybe we all need to talk about Kevin...Nature or nurture? Shriver leaves it to the reader to decide in this powerful cautionary tale.' * Belfast Telegraph * `One of the most striking works of fiction to be published this year. It is Desperate Housewives as written by Euripides...A powerful, gripping and original meditation on evil.' * New Statesman * `Harrowing, tense and thought-provoking, this is a vocal challenge to every accepted parenting manual you've ever read.' * Daily Mail * `An elegant psychological and philosophical investigation of culpability with a brilliant denoument...although (Eva's) reliability as a narrator becomes increasingly questionable as she oscillates between anger, self-pity and regret, her search for answers becomes just as compulsive for the reader.' * Observer * `Brilliant...compulsive.' * Guardian * `By far the best novel I've read in years...exquisitely crafted...a breathtaking work of art.' * Age * `Addresses head-on the question that causes anguish to the greatest readers of fiction these days, middle-class women: when to, or even why, have a child?' * Australian *
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About Lionel Shriver

Lionel Shriver is the author of eleven novels, including The Post-Birthday World and Big Brother. Her journalism is widely published in the Guardian, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, among other publications. She lives in London and Brooklyn, New York.
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Rating details

119,635 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 41% (49,359)
4 36% (42,991)
3 15% (17,592)
2 5% (5,876)
1 3% (3,817)

Our customer reviews

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 Kevin's 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 Kevin's 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.show more
by Marianne Vincent
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