Big Brother

Lionel Shriver. Harper, $26.99 (373p) ISBN 978-0-06-145857-6
Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) returns to the family in this intelligent meditation on food, guilt, and the real (and imagined) debts we owe the ones we love. Ex-caterer Pandora has made it big with a custom doll company that creates personal likenesses with pull-string, sometimes crude, catch phrases. The dolls speak to the condition of these characters—all trapped in destructive relationships with food (and each other): Pandora cooks to show love, to the delight of her compulsively fit husband Fletcher, whose refusal to eat dairy or vary from his biking routine are the outward manifestation of his remove. Pandora’s brother Edison eats to ease the pain of a stalled music career and broken marriage. And both live somewhat uncomfortably in the shadow of their father’s TV fame. In Big Brother, nothing reveals character more scathingly than food. Early in the book, the nearly 400-pound Edison arrives—waddling through an Iowa airport with a “ground eating galumph”—a man transformed in the four years since his sister last saw him. He brings the novel energy as well as an occasionally unpalatable maudlin drama. But Pandora will risk everything, including her own health, to save him. If this devotion and Pandora’s increasing success with Edison’s diet plan sometimes seem chirpily false, a late reveal provides devastating justification. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, Inkwell Management. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/11/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-226318-6
Paperback - 488 pages - 978-0-06-225380-4
Paperback - 373 pages - 978-0-06-145860-6
Paperback - 373 pages - 978-0-7322-9638-4
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-84-339-7895-0
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-7322-9639-1
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-219926-3
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-1-55468-203-4
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-55468-204-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-5046-3766-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-5046-3765-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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