Synopses & Reviews
"This book is about the small and large ways we hurt each other in the greatest competition on the face of the earth: Love. Buy it. It belongs on that shelf of books you will return to again and again."-Harry Crews
"Shriver confronts some disconcerting truths that defy a pat, politically correct resolution."-The New York Times Book Review
"Love me, love my game"says twenty-three year-old Willy Novinsky. Ever since she picked up a racquet at the age of four, tennis has been Willy's one love, until the day she meets Eric Oberdorf. She's a middle-ranked professional tennis player and he's a Princeton graduate who took up playing tennis at the age of eighteen. Low-ranked but untested, Eric, too, aims to make his mark on the international tennis circuit. Willy beholds compatibility spiced with friendly rivalry, and discovers her first passion outside a tennis court. They marry.
Married life starts well but animated shop talk and blissful love-making soon give way to full-tilt competition over who can rise to the top first. In this captivating book, Shriver dissects the hazards of a two-career relationship in this brilliantly perceptive novel about the price both men and women pay for prizing achievement over love.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Lionel Shriveris the author of seven novels, a Guardiancolumnist, and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Economist. She lives in London. We Need To Talk About Kevinwon the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2005.
"This book is about the small and large ways we hurt each other in the greatest competition on the face of the earth: Love. Buy it. It belongs on that shelf of books you will return to again and again." Harry Crews
"Shriver confronts some disconcerting truths that defy a pat, politically correct resolution." The New York Times Book Review
"Shriver is a talented enough writer to win over some readers, but many will quickly lose patience with Willy and want to tell her to simply grow up and set her priorities straight." Library Journal
"A persistently melodramatic tone doesn't disguise the tragedy in this moving, resonant tale of two sparkling careers and two decent people unable to live in harmony." Kirkus Reviews
"Shriver's novel provides an eye-opening and authentic look at the cutthroat world of pro tennis, but it's more than just a sports expose. It's the melancholy and tempestuous story of two people whose love couldn't survive their own selfishness." Bookist
An ardent middle-ranked professional tennis player, Willy Novinsky, meets her match in Eric Oberdorf, the handsome rogue she drubs in a pickup game in Riverside Park. Eric is charmingly gracious in defeat, and his casual confidence takes her in. Low-ranked but untested, Eric, too, aims to make his mark on the international tennis circuit. Willy beholds compatibility spiced with friendly rivalry, and discovers her first passion outside of the tennis court. They marry. Conjugal life starts well on the Upper West Side. But animated shoptalk and blissful lovemaking soon give way to full-tilt competition over who can rise to the top first. Driven and gifted, Willy maintains the lead until she rips her knee ligaments in a devastating spill. While Willy recuperates, her ranking plummets just as her husband's career takes off. Eric becomes the upstart darling of the tennis circuit; Willy founders, plagued by injury and self-doubt. Due to her anguish at falling short of a lifelong dream, Willy's devotion to her husband grows tragically twisted with resentment of his success.
About the Author
Lionel Shriver is the author of seven novels, and has written extensively for the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Economist. She lives in London. Her novel We Need to Talk About Kevin was the winner of the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction.
Read an exclusive essay by Lionel Shriver