We Need to Talk About Kevin is a novel by Lionel Shriver, published by Serpent's Tail, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jump to navigation Jump to search. For the film adaptation of the book, see We Need to Talk About Kevin ( film). We Need to Talk About Kevin book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The gripping international bestseller about motherh. Sarah A Smith on We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, a misguided and discordant story about a teenage killer. Set against the farce of the counting of the votes in the US presidential elections, We Need To Talk About Kevin tells the story of a high-school massacre.

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Guardian book club: An audience of readers found plenty to discuss in Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin, says John Mullan. raudone.info: We Need to Talk About Kevin (): Lionel Shriver: + $ shipping. Sold by: raudone.info Add to Cart. $ + $ shipping. We Need to Talk About Kevin tie-in - Trade PB. Share This Title: We Need to Talk About Kevin tie-in. Read a Sample · Enlarge Book Cover · Left hand banner -.

Kevin plays the part of a loving, respectful son whenever Franklin is around, an act that Eva sees through. This creates a rift between Eva and Franklin that never heals.

Shortly before the massacre, Franklin asks for a divorce. When Kevin's sister Celia is six years old, she loses an eye when Eva uses a caustic drain cleaner to clear a blockage in a sink; either Eva left the cleaner sitting within Celia's reach, or Kevin somehow attacked Celia with it, destroying her eye and scarring her face. Eva strongly believes that Kevin, who was babysitting at the time, poured the cleaner onto his sister's face, telling her he was cleaning her eye after she got something in it.

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The event is also linked to an earlier incident involving the disappearance of Celia's pet rodents. When relating the story of the massacre itself, it is finally revealed that Franklin and Celia are in fact dead.

Part of the success of We Need to Talk about Kevin is that it has proved peculiarly discutable. It has been a favourite of book groups; it is fervently discussed on websites. The publishers of the paperback edition even include, as an appendix, a list of "Reading group questions" that have been provoked in discussions of the novel.

The novel's provocation to debate was evident again when Lionel Shriver talked at the Guardian book club. She acknowledged it was not the issue of teenage violence that has made the book so much discussed.

Mother load

It was its treatment of motherhood - giving the narrative to a woman, Eva, who, from pregnancy, feels unable to extend affection to her child. It was for this reason that one member of the audience described the novel as "incredibly brave", an "emancipated" book because it gave the narrator feelings that, maternally, she was not supposed to have.

One reader did ask the unanswerable question: how much do you hold Eva to account for the actions of her son? Later, when Shriver remarked that Eva had not been a particularly good mother, a reader replied: "You seem to be judging her now more than you were prepared to earlier. A sceptical reader emailed to express his refusal to believe in the existence of a child like Kevin, except in a horror story.

It isn't that, it's a gothic fantasy.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Kevin is a monster, the spawn of Satan like Damien in The Omen. Does she perhaps have a frisson about being recognised?

Does she even, suggested this reader, like to invite shame upon herself? She is, Shriver agreed, punishing herself, though the novelist said she had no idea how the mothers of real teenage killers have behaved.

At one moment the novelist worried aloud that she might sound "cold" in her careful manipulation of disaster, and some of her readers wondered about the "meticulousness" of her planning.

It was clear that nothing could be accidental. Why did she make Eva Armenian? Was there some reason apart from the fact sneeringly recalled by Kevin himself late in the book that a history of massacres ran through the "collective unconscious" of Armenians?

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Characters in American fiction "always come from somewhere else", said Shriver. As an American novelist, you just have to choose where that "somewhere else" might be. She admitted that she had had letters from Armenian Americans asking if she couldn't "pick on some other ethnicity".

Why did she choose to have Kevin commit the massacre with a crossbow rather than a gun? Was she trying to distinguish his actions from other - real - high-school slayings? It was pointed out that Eva herself suggests an answer: Kevin would not have wanted to give bien pensant liberals like herself yet more evidence for their favoured cause of tighter gun control.

But then Shriver pointed out that she and Kevin were in accidental accord on this point.My question is this--was this just poorly written so that what was meant to be a big reveal was, well, not? Subscribe to Independent Minds to debate the big issues Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? I got emotionally involved.

Why did she choose to have Kevin commit the massacre with a crossbow rather than a gun? Set against the farce of the counting of the votes in the US presidential elections, We Need To Talk About Kevin tells the story of a high-school massacre, similar to that at Columbine.

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