The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver

#34 in my 2007 book challenge was Lionel Shriver’s The Post-Birthday World, which I’ve written about previously here. The premise is that a woman’s life branches after a major decision, and the chapters alternate between the two lives, rather like the movie Sliding Doors, though that was about chance, and not nearly so literate.

Shriver ruthlessly questions the all-too-common assumption we make when we take a fork in the road and things don’t go as planned. The other fork looks great in retrospect. She carefully crafts her narrative to show that there’s good and bad in all choices. In the end, I thought she favored one choice over the other, but I didn’t think this was a bad thing.

Embarrassingly, this book caused me to develop an accidental crush on Anthony Bourdain, an author and TV food personality I previously didn’t care for. Bourdain’s look so matches the physical description of Ramsey in TPBW, though, that my literary crush on the character of Ramsey (for all his faults) segued into a crush on Bourdain. Oops.

2 Responses to “The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver”

  1. Dawn Says:

    We are reading sympatico! I just got The Professor’s Daughter and can’t wait to read it. I have also long harbored a thing for Anthony Bourdain. And I’m trying to fit in another Golden Compass reading before the movie comes out. There coincidences I can’t remember, but that’s the gist. -D

  2. carolyn Says:

    too funny. i think anthony bourdain is hot in a completely different way but i can’t picture him as ramsey. ;)

    i thought there were some good things about this book, but ultimately i didn’t find it that satisfying.