By coincidence, I have recently read two collections of short fiction by two of my favourite authors which bring together stories united around specific themes. ‘Property’ is Lionel Shriver’s first collection of short stories which all address the title’s literal definition in relation to real estate and also in a more figurative sense as ownership and possession. Ten shorter pieces many of which have previously been published in magazines are bookended by two novellas ‘The Standing Chandelier’ about the dynamics of Weston Babansky’s 20+ year friendship with Jillian Frisk and her unusual choice of wedding gift when he marries his girlfriend Paige and ‘The Subletter’ written in 1999 about an American journalist living in Belfast during the Troubles who has territorial struggles of her own. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Lionel Shriver
Set in near-future America, ‘The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047’ by Lionel Shriver follows four generations of an American family who had been waiting to inherit the fortune of 97-year-old patriarch Douglas Mandible. However, a total fiscal meltdown in the form of a cyber attack has wiped out the economy along with the Mandible’s wealth and all communications including the Internet. After the “Great Renunciation” when the President of the United States defaults on the country’s massive debt obligations, the Mandibles are all forced to live together under one roof in order to survive. Continue reading
‘The Post-Birthday World’ by Lionel Shriver tells the story (or stories) of Irina McGovern, a children’s book illustrator in her early forties living in London with her partner of nearly ten years, Lawrence Trainer, a fellow American expatriate. When Irina finds herself alone with Ramsey Acton, a famous snooker player, her life takes diverging paths in alternate chapters where in one life, she starts a new relationship with Ramsey and in another life, she stays loyal to Lawrence. Continue reading
‘Big Brother’ by Lionel Shriver tells the story of Pandora Halfdanarson and her relationship with her brother, Edison, a jazz musician who is coming to visit her in Iowa where she lives with her husband and two teenage stepchildren. On arrival, Pandora is horrified to discover that Edison has become morbidly obese in the time since she last saw him four years ago and has to decide whether or not she will take matters into her own hands.