||2011 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee
A blistering takedown of the American medical system, So Much for That is the story of one family's terminal illness and the financial ramifications thereof. Shep watches his retirement account flush away while trying to keep his wife alive. Shriver's characters are layered, complex and not always likable, but the situation is dire, and the story is riveting. So much for the "American dream." Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A widely acclaimed young writer’s fierce new novel, in which childbirth and new motherhood are as high stakes a proving ground as any combat zone
A year has passed since Ari gave birth to Walker, though it went so badly awry she has trouble calling it “birth” and still she can't locate herself in her altered universe. Amid the strange, disjointed rhythms of her days and nights and another impending winter in upstate New York, Ari is a tree without roots, struggling to keep her branches aloft.
When Mina, a one-time cult musician — older, self-contained, alone, and nine-months pregnant —moves to town, Ari sees the possibility of a new friend, despite her unfortunate habit of generally mistrusting women. Soon they become comrades-in-arms, and the previously hostile terrain seems almost navigable.
With piercing insight, purifying anger, and outrageous humor, Elisa Albert issues a wake-up call to a culture that turns its new mothers into exiles, and expects them to act like natives. Like Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin and Anne Enright’s The Gathering, this is a daring and resonant novel from one of our most visceral writers.
"Shriver has a gift for creating real and complicated characters...A highly engrossing novel." San Francisco Chronicle
"The rare novel that will shake and change you. With these wholly realistic and sympathetic characters, [Shriver] makes us consider the most existential questions of our lives and the dreadful calculus of modern health care in this country." Ron Charles, Washington Post
"Brave, bold. . . . A page turner. . . . Brilliantly funny and a superb plotter, Shriver is a master of the misanthrope. . . . [A] viciously smart writer." Time
"Neither stingy with subplots nor shy about taking on timely, complex issues, [Shriver] tosses plenty of both into the pot with real daring and brio." New York Times Book Review
From the author of The Post-Birthday World and A Perfectly Good Family comes this deeply resonant novel that looks at America's healthcare system, and poses the disturbing moral question that affects more people every day: How much is one life worth?
Shep Knacker has long saved for a "The Afterlife": an idyllic retreat to the Third World where his nest egg can last forever. Traffic jams on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway will be replaced with a "talking, thinking, seeing, and being" — and enough sleep. When he sells his business for a cool million dollars, his dream finally seems within reach. Yet his wife Glynis has concocted endless excuses why it's never the right time to go. Weary of working as a peon for the jerk who bought his company, Shep announces he's leaving for a Tanzanian island, with or without her.
Just returned from a doctor's appointment, Glynis has some news of her own: Shep can't go anywhere because she desperately needs his health insurance. But their policy only partially covers the staggering bills for her treatments, and Shep's nest egg for "The Afterlife" soon cracks under the strain.
So Much for That follows the profound transformation of a marriage, and Shriver delivers a compelling novel that presses the question: How much is one life worth?
“Shriver has a gift for creating real and complicated characters… A highly engrossing novel.” — San Francisco Chronicle
From New York Times bestselling author Lionel Shriver (The Post-Birthday World, We Need to Talk About Kevin), comes a searing, deeply humane novel about a crumbling marriage resurrected in the face of illness, and a familys struggle to come to terms with disease, dying, and the obscene cost of medical care in modern America.
A widely acclaimed young writer's fierce new novel, in which childbirth and new motherhood are as high-stakes a crucible as any combat zone.
About the Author
Novelist and journalist Lionel Shriver won the coveted Orange Prize in 2005 for We Need to Talk about Kevin, a gripping literary page-turner that delves into the tragic possibilities of motherhood gone awry. Her features, op-eds, and reviews have appeared in such publications as the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and the Economist.
Read an exclusive essay by Lionel Shriver